“Do you want to come downtown?” Marty Martin asked. He and Kayeeeeee were headed down for the 4th of July events all afternoon, along with 495593020404203 other people in town. Events that included “Find a Place to Park” and “Hey, it’s 90! Can YOU Live?”

“Going downtown sounds awful,” I said, because I am a social butterfly. As time goes on, going out in public sounds more and more annoying. Going out when it’s 90 sounds even worse.

Awhile later, Marty M texted me again. “We’re at Mcoul’s, and it’s anything but.” Mcoul’s is a pub. They have outdoor seating. Oh, sign me up! Mcoul’s indeed.

What I did was go to air-conditioned Lowe’s, cause I really know how to throw down, and get a new deadbolt. Happy 4th! We’re independent! My deadbolt had ceased to, you know, turn, which is a problem when you want to, oh, lock the door.

You’ll be stunned to hear that Lowe’s on a holiday was a tad crowded. The 700 people who DIDN’T go downtown were there. I pulled into a space, but as soon as I did, I thought, “Did that guy have his turn signal on to turn into this spot?” Sure enough, when I looked, there was a van with its turn signal on; he’d been waiting. I waved apologetically, as you do, and backed out.

We met up on the way into the store. “Hey, I just wanted to say, there aren’t many good people left in the world, but you’re one of ’em,” he said. “Most people would say, I got my space. Who cares if you were waiting?”

God, would they?

I saw some person on the Facebook just this week who was all, This guy shushed me at the concert! How rude!

Wait. He’s rude?

Anyway, I got my deadbolt, and because I am butch, I put it on when I got home. The phone rang, and it was Ned. “I’m going to walk downtown, then walk around downtown, then walk back. You wanna come with me?”

It’s a 45-minute walk each way downtown from Ned’s. What the fuck is wrong with everybody?

“Ned, that sounds fucking horrible,” I said, and I wonder why I spend holidays alone so often. And just like Marty Martin, he texted me from a bar awhile later. “I had to stop in to get a beer,” Ned said, like that’s such a rarity that he had to explain it. “My shirt is completely soaked.”

I really feel like I was the correct one in my friends’ scenarios yesterday.

At some point, I happened to glance at this card I have from my doctor, and I realized I had an appointment today at 2:30 to discuss my

colonoscopy. They gave me that appointment months ago and I haven’t told my boss about it cause I hadn’t remembered. I already had a dentist appointment Monday and a what’s-this-mole appointment Friday, and who’s sick of me, do you think?

So I decided I’d better take my lunch to work tomorrow and then take the doctor’s appointment as my lunchtime, so my boss doesn’t have to just up and fire me.

This meant I had to head to the grocery store, for something lunchy to take to work.

On the drive to the store, I noticed kids with sparklers in all the yards. I could hear fireworks in the distance, and I could REALLY hear them when I pulled into the store. As I got out of my car, it was like I was strolling through the Civil War. BOOM!

I decided to buy 10 Lean Cuisines for 10 dollars, because sodium and preservatives are an important part of your diet. I also got some Steely Dan food, and as I headed to the checkout with 10 diet TV dinners and a case of cat food, I started to feel distinctly bad.

How single could I be, with my lone checkout on a holiday, no other shoppers for miles, with my TV dinners for one and my cans of cat food? I might as well have shown up there in a robe.

I did the self-checkout, because single single single, and I was really feeling sort of weepy. I’d spent Christmas alone, and Easter alone, and I really shoulda taken someone up on their bowels of hell invitation to head downtown to the hot heaty hot hot crowd for the 4th.


As I left the store, a kid who worked there was out front, looking up.


You could see the fireworks! You could see them clear as day across the parking lot, behind the Steak and Shake, there.


“Oh my god!” I said.

“I know,” said the kid, an extraordinarily handsome one. Like, ought to be in modeling handsome. “I had to work here on Halloween and it was as dead as tonight, but at Halloween we didn’t get any trick or treaters. At least for this holiday, we can see the fireworks.”

BOOM. It was one of those silver sparkly ones that glitter after. Those are my favorite.

“Those are my favorite,” I told Handsome.

Eventually, I sat on the stoop in front of the store with Handsome, his male coworker who wished we had beer, and his female coworker who wished Steak and Shake weren’t in the way. I told them all about the year I had to bartend on the 4th. They figured we’d be dead, so they set me up with the fine shift of 10 to 10, and it was fucking insane in there all day.

When 10 o’clock came and my relief appeared, I took my shift drink to the roof with some other coworkers and we watched the fireworks from there, and it ended up being one of my best 4ths ever.

The grocery store staff and I all stayed till the grand finale. Not one shopper came in the whole time. When it was over, we’d learned each other’s names and ages and I got some inside guff on what it was like to work at that store.

At 10, a kid got dropped off to start his shift. “Hey, Robin,” they all said, as his mom drove away.

That was my cue to leave, so I did.

All I needed was a shift drink and boom. One of the best 4ths ever.

47 thoughts on “Boom

  1. We were in Williams Arizona and the fireworks went off right outside of our hotel window. Great!?! Not so much. I had the migraine from hell because the lady at the Jerky Shop in New Mexico assured me there was no pork in the Jerky. Guess what? There was pork in the jerky and if I had just read the ingredients I would have known this and not had a freakin migraine while World War Three was happening RIGHT OUTSIDE MY HOTEL WINDOW.


  2. Living in SC has cured me of any enjoyment of fireworks. Despite shutting the blinds and hiding for the pawed beast’s mental health, I had to clean up the front yard of Civil War leftovers from the neighbors. I was only annoyed about the mess until I discovered they broke two of my tomato plants and then shifted into Grr!

    Lovely post, pretty June.


  3. I need to tell someone—I met a handsome young man yesterday, too, but he was about 12. Polite and well-spoken, he complimented my dogs, who at that moment were neither, and asked their names. So I asked his, and he told me, and right then I knew. The last time I’d seen him he was an infant, and I was entertaining him with my bunch of keys, and his parents were having to wait until he was 4 or 5 to know whether he would be disabled by a horrible fatal genetic disease. Instead, there he was.


  4. Two things come to mind when fireworks are discussed. 1) When I was in 10th grade biology the guy that was next to me in class, Don B., we were in alphabetical order, came back from Christmas holidays minus two fingers on his left hand because he didn’t throw a firecracker soon enough. I was obsessed about those two missing fingers for the rest of the year. Pretty much still am when I think about dealing with fireworks. 2) The news was reporting the average person spends $150 (one hundred and fifty dollars!!!!!!) on fireworks. That is like sticking money in a rat hole. Just bring ME the money and I’ll shoot a shotgun for you if you want the noise and sparks. How many people spend their grocery money on fireworks? I’m too frugal to do that. Let the city or county foot the bill, but I’m still paying in an indirect way. But $150?


  5. It’s a great story, Joon—do they flock to you because they know you’ll tell them well? But I kept waiting for the moment when you realized your 10 Lean Cuisines had melted into a puddle of boxes.


  6. I love fireworks. We park at my son’s house and walk to the local bike trail that has a perfect view of the fireworks and I realized about 10 minutes into the display that my face hurt from smiling so hard. Afterwards my daughter wanted to get an ice cream cone, so we braved the traffic to go to a McDonalds. I asked the guy working the drive thru if everyone was ordering ice cream, and he said the non-sweary equivalent of “Damn straight!” with a smile, which made me happy too because he was enjoying it.
    I’m glad your fourth ended on such a good note. I love it when the good times find you instead of having to search them out.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am a shut-in for summer holidays. Everyone from “the valley” is here escaping the heat. Our neighborhood puts on a walloping show, so I can look out the window and enjoy it without driving and traffic. I think your grocery store show was perfect, and I imagine it had cooled down and you had a balmy southern evening.


  8. I’m so glad this story had such a happy ending. I love fireworks, but not the crowds and the ONE EXIT from the park which takes a bazillion years to get out of because so many people are there totally ruin it for me … so I haven’t seen some in quite some time.

    And speaking of going outside in the hot weather, my husband said yesterday that it was time for pick-your-own fruit and we needed to find some places to go pick blueberries and cherries. Ugh … no … it’s too hot and I will get all sweaty and birds will dive-bomb me because they have a nest in the blueberry bushes (this happened to me the last time we did this!). He can go pick fruit all he wants … without me!


    1. Close friends have their own blueberry bushes. Just last week my friend was out picking the berries and reached in the bush to pull out a nice bunch/cluster of berries and Mr. Jake the Snake was up there eating the berries. I would have cut that bush to the ground and burned it!


  9. Sounds like a pretty good day to me. I don’t understand the urge to get sweaty and then hang out with a crowd of sweaty (stinky) people.


  10. I was unpacking boxes from moving to celebrate. I’m also no fan of crowds and the heat so I cranked up the a/c and worked on my house all day and night. I walked out on my back deck for a few minutes and watched the fairly impressive fireworks show the neighbors right behind me put on. That was enough for me. I’m glad you ended up having an unexpected lovely evening.


  11. Well. I just discovered one of my dogs tore out the side of my loveseat last night. I mean the material’s all over the floor as is foam rubber. I suspect it was Oliver, my labradoodle, but whoo knows. Guess the dogs weren’t as unbothered as I thought they were.


    1. My dog’s spent the last four days, in her thunder shirt, hiding in the bathroom. I don’t know why she chose the bathroom, but there you go.


  12. 45 minutes each way? That makes me shudder. I haven’t gone to a fireworks display since I was in my early 20’s. Then when my daughter was little she hated all kinds of loud noises and covered up her ears and sometimes cried until they stopped. So of course we did not drag her downtown to see fireworks. Once she got over the affliction with loud noises she was all ‘meh’ about going, so we didn’t. Now years later I want zero to do with crowds and heat. I do love when the neighborhood does them and you can watch from your window or driveway . That’s the bomb!


  13. Who can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile? Well, it’s you, Joon, and you should know it!


  14. Our neighbors across the road had a big shindig yesterday. Every time I was outside (to take the puppy out to pee 1,245 times) or to start the grill for supper, I groused about this. Cripes almighty they just HAD a shindig on Memorial Day. Stop with the people and the laughing and the cars parked on their lawn! My youngest said “Geez mom, crochety much?”
    June, you were asked to do things – that’s where the difference is!

    Also, how fun to hang with the store kids!


  15. I’m with you; leaving my house and doing anything heat related, or cold related, or people related, does not appeal to me at all anymore. Occasionally I feel like leaving my home and seeking out the company of others but not often. I would be perfectly fine if I never left my house or spoke to people for days and days. We are very low key on the 4th by design. We go to our local golf course to watch them. They shoot them off from about 500 yards from where we sit so they are right above us. It’s not crowded and we had really lovely weather last night. But… our city made a big deal this year about fining anyone with illegal fireworks $500 and told every citizen to call the police the minute they heard any fireworks in their neighborhood because they MEAN BUSINESS THIS TIME. This message was EVERYWHERE. The paper, all social media outlets, the radio, the local news, yada, yada, yada. Well, every single person who wanted to have fireworks and celebrate America took this as a personal challenge. There were more fireworks going off in this city than ever before the past several days. Apparently the police department had 4 officers to cover the entire city and at some point they realized they were losing the battle and stopped checking up on calls. My delightful neighbors were among those who felt their God given right and responsibility to be reckless and annoying was being challenged. They were shooting fireworks until the wee hours at every roof on the street. Wilbur was a mess. I was angry because I could have turned off the air and had the windows open.
    Can I add my neighbors are not even from this country originally??? They just moved to America about 4 years ago.


  16. Up until this year, I’ve always felt sad to be single on the holidays. This year I was invited out on a date to watch the fireworks and I couldn’t be bothered. I’m so glad I didn’t go, because supposedly Nashville had the biggest fireworks display in the country and I’d hate to have to be typing y’all from prison. I can’t and do not want to deal with those crowds. Plus all the wanna-be-famous people hang out downtown in their rock star jeans and hemp necklaces and it annoys me. But happy 4th! My neighbor shot fireworks until 11:00 p.m.!


  17. First the spray painting and door and now the deadbolt.
    You’re on a roll, June!
    It’s a great feeling when you tackle projects and see the end results.
    I love being able to take care of my own sh*t. No man required, handy or not.
    That really turned out to be a lovely evening for you, with the kids.
    Glad you had a sparkly end to the 4th.


  18. Lovely post, June. I’m glad you had a nice moment in time with the handsome young man and his coworkers. We had gone to our daughter’s best friend’s grandparents house for an informal party on 7/3, so didn’t go anywhere yesterday. They set off amateur fireworks at the party and . . . I don’t really like them. I prefer the beautiful huge ones that professionals set off. I like the ones that fill the sky and then cascade like a weeping willow. We’ll get to see some from our driveway in a few weeks, so I’ll get my fix then.


  19. I love this story. It almost made me weepy.


  20. When I was a kid, 4th of July was magical. There would be a block party and everyone would barbecue and the Green’s would make homemade ice cream with one of those handcrank buckets and everyone would pitch in and buy tons of fireworks and the dads would put on a show and we’d all sit in our chairs or on the curbs and “ooooooh!” and “ahhhhhhh!” and it was just wonderful to be a kid on the 4th of July.

    I don’t think I saw a single firework filling the sky on July 4, 2017 because my poor dogs needed comforting. However, I most certainly HEARD them. Despite fireworks being illegal where I live, it sounded like a war zone until after midnight. I also had no desire to join the hordes and masses at public venues but there is a small part of me that misses not being a crabby old person who dislikes crowds and finding a place to park just to watch the rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air.

    I kind of miss the joys of childhood. Now get off my lawn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for bringing back memories of my childhood 4th of July celebrations. One year, my parents drove us all across town to see the city’s firework display. It was wonderful, but the traffic was horrible so we celebrated at home on subsequent years. Dad would make the homemade ice cream in the old hand-crank container. We would all take turns turning the crank, but he had to do most of it. Mom would bake a chocolate cake to go with the vanilla ice cream. We’d also have a cookout and watermelon. Because fireworks were illegal, but sparklers weren’t, we’d wait until it was dark and we’d each get to hold a lighted sparkler and we would wave it around to make designs in the air. The simple pleasures of youth.

      Now, I can see some of the fireworks display from our back deck and that’s enough for me.

      June, I loved your story of watching the fireworks with Handsome and his friends. What fun!


  21. I’m also impressed with your ability to change a deadbolt. I was out and about shopping yesterday and wondering where the heck everyone was. There seemed to be no one interested in shopping. Guess they were saving all their energy for nighttime. Your evening sounds lovely. I was sleeping.


  22. I like the fireworks that look like those ringed planets. Saturn, maybe? I don’t know; I studied poetry in college. Firework technology is clearly making great leaps forward.

    Whenever someone asks me to go to an outdoor event, I ask them if they’re going to re-straighten my hair afterwards.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Beautiful post, June. I feel guilty for enjoying sitting in my living room reading and enjoying hearing all of the neighborhood backyard fireworks because I feel sorry for all the furry ones cowering. I’ve had 2 dogs who slept like the dead through fireworks and storms. A gift from the universe for them and me. A shaking doggie breaks my heart. Sitting on a curb with the cubs was a gift, too.


  24. Those little holidays always make me the saddest for some reason. Labor day and Memorial day? Could everyone just quit with the freaking family reunions and cookouts, already?!


  25. I am extremely impressed with your mechanical ability to change a deadbolt. You go, gurl.

    The fireworks were unnerving around us. Not only could we hear and see two venues from our driveway, but we could also hear an additional two venues, not to mention all the fireworks going off in the neighborhood around us. It scared the cat so she would not come out from under the porch. It was way past midnight before the noise stopped.

    We did a living history talk/presentation at an assisted living facility yesterday. The old people loved it! As opposed to school kids that could care less (THAT is why we no longer speak at schools). This morning my husband made the comment, “I’m glad we did what we did yesterday, it was more fun than sitting around eating hot dogs and hamburgers.” It really was.

    Great post!


    1. Tee, how I would love to see you and your husband do one of those talks in your costumes. You two are a treasure to the world.


  26. I think going downtown sounds dreadful as well. Last night I sorta, kinda didn’t want to go to the fireworks, but I DID. We have fireworks in my city on the 3rd, so I thought, “I’m good. I already SAW some fireworks.” But, alas, I didn’t see FOURTH OF JULY fireworks.
    I am just happy that I won’t hear all of the amateur fireworks at odd hours of the day. POPpopPopPopPoppoop…

    I am impressed with your deadbolt dealings. I don’t know if I could pull that off! Well done!

    Lovely post, lovely June!


  27. I love the after-glitter ones, too, and the ones that explode then the explode-y parts explode into smaller balls of glitter. Saw none of them last night b/c Sir Floof needed to be held; otherwise he was trying to get behind the TV or underneath the sideboard. Glad you got to hang out with a handsome boy and see fireworks!


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