"Ooooooooo!" "Aaaaaaaaah!"

When my family watched fireworks on the Fourth of July, we used a lot of vowels.

"Ooooooooo!" "Aaaaaaaaah!"

When my family watched fireworks on the Fourth of July, we used a lot of vowels.


That last elongated exclamation, combined with clapping, was saved for the grand finale.

We must make such comment on the quality of fireworks displays. We are, as our fireworks showed, free to do so. And it is our right, perhaps our duty, as Americans to use this freedom of speech to review fireworks. Or overuse it. My family was into fireworks hyperbole.

"That was the best fireworks display ever!"


To remember it more accurately, the "Oooo'ers" and "Aaaaa'ers" were more than immediate family members. Our porch, because of its position on a slight slope facing the place where the fireworks traditionally were sent skyward, was a favorite among friends and neighbors.

Your main squabble over a choice seat on the porch railing would be with a sibling because you had access to each other all afternoon.

"Got dibs on the spot next to the center porch post! ..."

"Do not, I called it! ..."

Who hasn't spent an entire barbecue bickering over where you're going to sit six or seven hours later?

When the time came, you had to ward off or make room for cousins and neighborhood kids. As cherished relatives and welcomed guests, these last-minute interlopers felt entitled. Years of watching fireworks had taught them that our parents were going to make us share our spots, squeezing as many kids onto the railing as narrow shoulders would allow.

Adults stood behind us, the oldest among them — ancient aunts and beloved grandmothers — took comfortable seats on the cushioned porch glider, rocking back and forth and enjoying the fireworks with as much pleasure hordes of mosquitoes would allow.

The only thing louder than the celebratory bombs bursting in air on a hot and muggy Fourth of July night was the slapping of necks, arms and legs.



As anybody who has watched a fair share of fireworks displays knows, a show can start in mid-insect bite, causing parents to tell their children to squelch their cries of pain and settle down about who is touching whom on the railing.

Boom! Burst! Bang! Poppitty-pop-pop! Kaboom!

I don't know if modern fireworks shows are as good as they were years ago. Considering advances in technology and improvements in the design of fireworks displays, the giant shows today likely are even better. But, maybe not as memorable.

"Oooooohhh! Look at that one!" I can remember someone saying as each particularly colorful and majestic explosion filled the sky.

One burst led to another until finally fireworks were exploding on top of each other. "Oh, this must be the grand finale!" It was a required observation.

"Oooooos" and "Aaaaaahs" mingled.

And then there was silence.


But, we need to get back inside in this memory before the skeeters eat us alive.