The Fourth

Yes, I’m afraid I’ve snuck into the park after hours again.

Taking it gently after a week of twelve-hour shifts, and hoping not to  have another relapse of fever and chills, I spent the evening walking around the neighborhood watching the progression of explosives.  Before dark, it was mostly firecrackers, bottle rockets, and small balls that emitted colored smoke. Tiring of things that go bang, I headed for the park at Wolf Lake, the one place I was sure the ban on fireworks would be enforced.

Once the sun went down, the park was quickly cleared out by aggressive park vehicles driven by park employees who were no doubt eager to go home to their picnics.  Once the park had been closed and the gates locked, I snuck back in and watched the colors bloom in the sky from one end of the lake to another.  The sound of explosions never stopped.

Back in the neighborhood, more fireworks appear in the skies above an unpretentious row of Chicago bungalows on Avenue O.

Several families on one block will go together and kick in $50 or so apiece, buy their fireworks across the border in Indiana, and put on their own private show.  Party music emanating from the garages in the alleys, when you could hear any above the constant explosions, was of the mariachi and salsa variety.

Other years there have been more fireworks, something on every block at least, but all in all, this year wasn’t too bad of a show.

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