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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

July 4th

"Gorey Stories" opened tonight, and I was disappointed by the timing. Running until 9:30, we missed almost all of the fireworks set off from Navy Pier. Disappointed because in all my many years in Chicago, I've actually never seen them, and this year I was right at the lake doing the show.

I had forgotten, though, that sometimes the civilian fireworks are just as spectacular as the city's. Biking home, west on Fullerton, the night spread out before me as a sparkling jewel. The last mile home was particularly livid. I biked through a fug of gunpowder and falling embers, and nearly hit a few parked cars as I swerved on my ride, watching the sky.

I love how into the holiday this city is, though given the high density of undocumented immigrants in my neighborhood, I suspect the fiery celebrations are more for a love of pretty explosives rather than the history of this country.

This time last year, I was also sitting under a shower of fireworks, but at a Biscuits game in Montgomery. As soon as the last play was completed, every light in the stadium was cut, and music started up as the pyrotechnics blasted. For a good ten minutes or so, the sky lit up. Finally, "Sweet Home Alabama" was played, and the crowd went wild for the finale. Tim and I grinned at each other, deliriously happy to be in that spot at that moment.

And forever since then, that song makes me happy. It reminds me of a time when I felt like part of a community. I felt like I was an Alabamian, like that sweet home was my home. For a little while, it was.

And I love that now any time I see fireworks, that's what I'll think of.

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