My husband and I were on a mission yesterday. I love watching fireworks, but this year I wasn’t up to dealing with the massive crowd during the show. The crush of people leaving afterwards. The long hike back to the car, the traffic jam. The noise. Our task was to find a spot that afforded a decent view of the fireworks but far from the madding crowd, and where we could make a speedy get-away.
And we wanted ice cream.
We had a few places in mind. At the second spot on our list we were greeted by a line of orange security cones and a traffic cop. The field we hoped to watch the sky from was on the top of a hill behind a new development of houses. We assumed the guy was there to keep non-residents from doing that. Still my husband asked: “Is this a good spot to see the fireworks?”
“Perfect”, the cop said, surprising us. “As long as you park your car on the side away from the orange cones.”
I leaned across my husband and told the cop, “Okay. We’ll be back. We’re going for ice cream. Would you like some?” He smiled and said sure, that would be nice. Surprise him on the flavor.
Being kind costs so little. In this case, $4 for a double scoop of ice cream which was well worth the price of the smile on the guy’s face when we really did return with it.
We were back within fifteen minutes. A few other cars had arrived by then. A few more came after that. The evening was humid, but a steady breeze across the top of the hill cooled our skin and kept the bugs away. We chatted with the other people. I met a girl whose name was also Mary. She was nine. She was with her mother and their new dog Bella, a year-old yellow lab rescue dog who was timid with people. Unless they were eating ice cream. Then she had no fear at all. Three other people came from a party they’d been to. An older couple brought their daughter and her two little boys who were three and six. A family with two teen-agers and a long-haired dachshund name Luigi came last. Bella and Luigi made eyes and barked at one another. I’m pretty sure it was love.
And then, the fireworks began. The cop was right. The view was perfect.
(I forgot to bring my camera, but my iPhone is pretty good in a pinch.)
Unlike the snafu in San Diego, we had a twenty-two minute show. It was sublime. It’s amazing how a common cause — the search for a spot with an un-trammeled view — brings out camaraderie in human beings. As we walked the few steps to our cars, we congratulated one another on our mutual find.
And then we booked it out of there to beat the crowd.