Independence Day is a fun holiday. There is nothing absolutely required of you. You don’t have to do presents, or decorate if you don’t want to. Some people go to the fireworks, but plenty don’t, so you won’t feel like you’re letting down the side if you skip them. There isn’t really a set menu, though of course you have to make some effort to use red, white, and blue. But, you know, there are lots of red and blue berries, and then you can just set out some cream and you’ve done it. You can have people over for a cookout one year without feeling that you have established a tradition, and families are not required to get together (although we are meeting my parents for lunch on the 3rd — because we want to). Some years we have done elaborate stuff, and some years we have not. Independence.
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But this year there is a difficult decision that needs making. #2 son wants to go stay over with a friend. This part is no big deal. It is the usual traveling sleepover, with the usual Three Musketeers. You can see the Three Musketeers in the unrecognisable picture above, from some years ago. You can’t recognise the boys, but I think you can recognise their spirit and camaraderie. (No, Pokey, that is not a cigarette. It is a lollipop.)
However, the other two Musketeers have had divorces in their families since the boys were all little together, and this particular sleepover is at the home of the Falcon’s dad.
Firecrackers are allowed in the area where this man lives. So the plot thickens. My son wants to go have a fireworks adventure on the Fourth of July.
You are thinking that there will be adult supervision, so there is nothing to worry about. But you do not know the Falcon.
His mother allows the boys to jump off their roof onto the trampoline. She has a rule at her house that the kids are not allowed to use real weapons without adult supervision.
I do not have any real weapons at my house (you can’t count the trebuchet, since it is a physics experiment). I don’t have a trampoline, either.
The last time #2 son stayed over at the Falcon’s dad’s house, he accidentally got handcuffed to something. There was a hack saw and a trip to the police department on the way home.
I don’t have any handcuffs at my house, either.
We live in the city limits, so fireworks are forbidden to us. But when we lived in the country, we had fireworks. The children and I sat on the porch, while Daddy safely set off fireworks in a cleared area. Somehow I do not feel sure that this will be the approach taken at the Falcon’s dad’s place.
In order to persuade me, #2 son assured me that Pinky would be there, too. This allowed me to remember all the escapades the Three Musketeers have been on in their years together. Pinky’s presence has never prevented #2 son and the Falcon from doing any insane thing that came into their heads. For all I know, Pinky may be the leading spirit in the insanity.
#2 son responds to questions about random wounds with “Huh? Oh, hey, I don’t know how I got that.” But what about a missing eye from a bottle rocket, or singed skin from over-exuberance with a Happy Chicken? It would be hard for him to pretend that he hadn’t noticed it.
On the other hand, I also think of Terry Pratchett’s Rincewind, who has almost died so many times that he clearly has a skill for — not dying. This makes him seem quite safe to some characters in the books.
A difficult decision.