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Everything weird

It's hot here and thunderstorms rolled through this afternoon. I don't think it ever did more than sprinkle right here, but the storms were all around us. Around 7:30, there were nearly constant flashes of lighting to the east. I sat out with Penny in the tent, had a cold drink, and watched the fireworks. Fireworks, of course, are really something different.

Massachusetts is one of a handful of states where fireworks -- all kinds -- are illegal. On the news, they showed a demonstration somewhere of how dangerous fireworks are. They blew up mannequins and set some on fire to illustrate what happens if the fireworks misfire. They also had a father who lost a son to a rocket that fell over and hit the little boy in the head. As a kid I always loved fireworks and I think its ludicrous to make them all illegal. My favorite, as a kid, were the ones my grandparents gave me in Illinois called "crickets". They would jump around popping and giving off smoke, littering the sidewalk with bits of newspapers covered with Chinese writing.

Daniel didn't like fireworks as a small kid. When we go to North Carolina, people shoot off all kinds of fireworks from the beach of the barrier island. Daniel was unhappy one time that someone shot one off without enough warning. Alisa told him it was mean of someone to do that, but afterwards Daniel would just "Fireworks mean!" And fireworks are mean.

I began by making the analogy to lightning seeming like fireworks, but in our society fireworks represent military bombardment. When I see fireworks now, I tend to think of the children in Israel and Gaza -- and Iraq -- who are killed when rockets scream in and explode in their living rooms. It has rather taken the fun out of fireworks for me.

Still, I'm reminded of the child who's mother wouldn't let him play a game where he was pretending a stick was a gun. "Don't you know that guns kill people?" she asked. "But, Mom," he said. "This is make believe. Don't you know the difference between real and make believe?" I think that as you get older, it gets harder and harder to tell.