I am listening to Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss sing Whiskey Lullaby and watching some of the fireworks outside the window.
My dog is laying at my feet, doing his best to hide under the desk from the rocket’s red glare and the associated noise.
Spent the prior few minutes telling him stories about the 4th of July I spent in Texas, Canada and Israel and how I expect to do some of those things again.
A series of small explosions rattle the window and make the pooch jump into my lap interrupting my ability to type but don’t impact my attempt to calm his nerves.
“You know I still hate the noise the vacuum cleaner and leaf blowers make. Sometimes sirens make me crazy and fireworks, well they are mixed bag for me too.”
He looks up at me, dark eyes asking for more than stories but I swear he is not shaking as much.
iTunes moves to Bread singing Make It With You and I tell the not so mighty beast about how I remember hearing that song when I was a kid.
“Long before that bitch you call mom was born I sat in the back of our family station wagon and watched the miles roll by during our family road trips.
Most of the time my sisters would be asleep and I’d be the sole child awake, but I never said anything because I knew mom and dad were more likely to talk about the things I wasn’t supposed to know about.
Too bad they talked about really boring things.”
The music moves onto a mix of Beatles songs and I am taken on a different journey.
We’re coming back from family camp in Santa Barbara or maybe we are going, I am not really sure because forty or so year have gone by and some details have faded.
Later on that day or maybe weeks later we walk from the house I grew up in to the park to watch the fireworks.
Unlike the time my children are growing up in kids are running unsupervised throughout the park.
Well, that’s not entirely true, our folks are there but they are hanging out with the other adults.
Supervision of the kids consists of a reminder to come eat something for dinner and to keep an eye on our younger siblings.
It is America’s Bicentennial and the whole country is celebrating. All around me I hear people cheering on the fireworks and sometimes intermixed with it all I hear people talking about politics.
They are talking about who came back from Vietnam and who didn’t. Some are saying the Nixon destroyed the country and that Ford isn’t any better.
Someone tells a guy to watch his language because there are kids around and the guy says something nasty back to him.
It is one of those words we use on the playground because our parents have said we shouldn’t use it in public.
A group of us stop to watch and listen, it is no different from the way we would stop to watch a fight on the school yard but this is better because they are grownups.
But we’ll never find out if they did more than yell at each other because one of the moms has spotted us and chases us out of there.
Later on I’ll hear here and a couple of the other mothers talk about the idiots and their stupid politics.
I am certain no one has the foresight to imagine that 40 years later those same arguments will take place online.
Hell every time we say we want a Dick Tracy watch or cool stuff like James Bond we are told that maybe it will happen by the time we grow up.
The Rocket’s Red Glare Meets Facebook
The dog is hanging out with my children now and I am left alone for a moment.
A few hours ago I sat in a restaurant and remembered how much I hated sitting at the table after I was done eating.
I was a kid then and all I wanted was freedom to go outside again.
Summer meant long days and the chance to play with my friends after dinner, something that didn’t happen during the school year.
But most of the kids didn’t leave their seats and not because they were still eating but because their heads were bent over electronic devices.
I watched as the parents of young kids smiled at each other and nodded as I remembered what it was like when every meal required laser focus on young kids.
Now my kids are anxious to finish to go back to doing whatever it is preteens and teens like to do.
Sometimes we let them go as soon as they ask and sometimes we hold them at the table a moment or two longer.
“Dad, you can’t stop time. You can’t stop us from growing up.”
I smile at my daughter and tell her it doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t try.
She rolls her eyes at me and I tell her what I really want to see is that she and her brother learn how to have a conversation without the aid of electronic devices.
“Dad, it is not the olden days. We aren’t living the eighties, kids have electronics now.”
I smile and tell her we had electronic devices in the eighties and that the really cool kids had cordless phones but she is not impressed.
“When I am confident you know how to put your phone away and have a conversation I won’t hassle you about it.”
She assures me she can and the truth is I know it.
But what she doesn’t know is that sometimes the person I am most concerned about is me and that is why I have focused on turning off my phone and leaving it in my room when I go eat.
Elton John is singing Levon and I am getting ready to wrap things up for a bit.
Don’t know if something bit me or if I am having an allergic reaction but my left hand is starting to swell a bit.
It is not painful, but it is noticeable, has been for a bit but I have been ignoring it. Can’t decide if it is because I was wrapped up in my storytelling or electronics.
Time to disconnect and think some more about whether I should be worried about the kids or me.
Life is interesting some times, now isn’t it.