One of the surprising things about life over here? There’s a massive annual 4th of July celebration at one of the nearby bases.
There’s food, a carnival, rides, a car show, music, raffles, an air show… and, yes, even fireworks! Hundreds (thousands?) of American and local families drive into the countryside to RAF Feltwell, a base which seems to exist only for this event, the DOD elementary school and its AAFES furniture store.
Typically I’m the worst Independence Day celebrant. Drunk people with fireworks? Terrifying. Even sparklers make me nervous. Heat, bugs, traffic all for the sake of watching money explode in the sky? No thanks. You know fireworks represent war, right? Yeah, I suck at patriotism in that department.
But there was something about taking Walden to the carnival, to see the fire trucks and air show, to chow down on grilled meats and fried anything, to have this thing to do as a family…something about it seemed so right.
Of course, the fireworks were scheduled for way past bedtime.
In theory I should probably share my feelings about fireworks with air shows.
Somehow, though? Somehow I found the RAF Red Arrows‘ display astoundingly awesome. Maybe I warmed up to it via the irony of the British aerobatic team performing at our American celebration of independence. But I’m not going to lie. It was thrilling, artful and majestic. Awesome! The crowd ooo!ed and aaah!ed and gasp!ed when it looked like the planes were set to collide head on. THEY EVEN DREW A HEART IN THE SKY. *Swoon!*
Though kiddo was completely overwhelmed with excitement and hunger and exhaustion, he really wanted to try a couple of rides.
Daddy stepped up and won the inflatable Spiderman ball on a rubber band that our little guy kept trying to take from other kids.
We ate food that I was too hungry to remember to photograph. My bowl of fruit covered in chocolate and marshmallows wasn’t exactly a funnel cake anyway.
We went to the car just before the Idols World Tour began, at exactly bedtime. There we remained parked in line to leave for, oh, 2 hours. Just before the fireworks show began, we were directed to the quick way out (thank you, screaming toddler!). Of course, we had never left this base that way and couldn’t fire up the GPS fast enough to send us the quick way home.
The moon was full and brilliant, the country road was full of dips and slopes and bumps that sent my knees to my chin, and we did in fact get to see the fireworks off in the distance as we drove a massive loop through who-knows-where. We were too tired to care (much) that we pulled into our driveway 3 hours after getting into the car.
I think it was a fine 4th of July for our family memory bank. How was yours?