Small Town Rednecks

We were invited by friends to go see some fireworks Saturday night. There was an add with a little picture of stacked unlit firecrackers in a row, and a small blurb about the MacLeese fire department putting it on.

NOTHING led on to what we were about to see.

As we drove what turned out to be an hour out of town, I even wondered if these little town fireworks would be worth the drive.

Then from the dark stretch of highway we saw a line of vehicles pulling off onto a little dirt road. We followed. The road literally took us into what felt like the middle of no where. When the dust of all the cars we followed cleared, we saw what looked like a snake of vehicles heading to a lit bridge. Or so we thought. As we drew near we saw it was no bridge, but a road made of beacons, torches with flames leaping from them set out in a field. A firefighter with a boot for donations told us to be sure to park and get out to the fire pits “for the full experience.”

Crossing through harvested corn we reached a large crowd of people. The night was cat black and held a suspenseful slight breeze. I grew excited as I saw the size of the fire pits groups of people were standing around. This is crazy! I thought. But boy oh boy- I hadn’t seen anything yet.

With some loud cracks the fireworks began.

But then the cracks came from behind us. I whirled around as more came from my other side. Fireworks lit the sky in explosions- they were flying over head! We were surrounded! Through burst of light we could see people circling us in the field. We roared with excitement.

Then shouts and cheers alert us of a guy on the hill. He’s dousing a burning trail with gasoline. Big circles of golden flames burn in the grass… but he keeps walking closer. Not to us, but to a boat parked ontop of the hill. It’s filled with cardboard boxes. Like Santa’s water sleigh. The flames reach the boat, billowing and swelling, reaching for the trees. Everyone around us is simply ecstatic. I feel like a kid that sees their first crash- to- pass. I can’t stop saying what I’m seeing, “did you see that!?” As though everyone around me wasn’t watching the same thing. Then fireworks exploded from the boat and people behind it start having a war with Roman candles.

It’s pure madness.

How is this even allowed? My cheeks ached with all their grinning. And every time we thought it was over

it would start up again.

Then it grew quiet. But it was like that grand moment of suspense before the crescendo of the finale. Fingers began to point. “Look!”

Like the Trojan horse of the Romans there stood a massive towering statue of boxes. He was the height of a two story building looming in the darkness.

The BOX MAN.

“He’s like a robot!” One of my kids breathed.

“They’re lighting him on fire!”

Burning boxes broke off the statue and fell to the ground like chunks of a volcano.

The kids giggled as it looked like he was left in only his underwear.

With a sudden BANG! The Box Mans hands shot forth spears of light.

“He’s shooting lasers!” The boys shouted over the roaring crowds.

Then it was done. The Box Man’s head still burned and the boxes at his feet. We all talked at once. Awed and thrilled by the spectacular experience.

Like the short circuits in a real robot, random fireworks wizzed sporadically from the box mans can head, and we could only guess there were some crackers buried in the tin of wax. The crowds began to pull away. With a few last glances, we headed towards the vehicles, where a snaking train of lights formed from vehicles winding their way back out.

Out from this place,

where guys dreams are a reality,

And somehow allowed to take place.

The kids excitedly talked in the back seat claiming the could have watched the show till morning and never even feel the least bit tired. “Box Man” and “boat” rolled off their lips… and then only the sound of tires on pavement could be heard.

I squeezed Sams hand, “guess they’re all asleep.” And we drove home.

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