I'm a DC girl. I've got high standards for Fourth of July fireworks. I'm not going to spread my blanket for just anything. I want to be impressed. Honestly, going into our first Florida Fourth, I didn't know if our little town could match my big city memories.
Now that the Fourth is safely behind us, I can confidently state that this year's festivities weren't as much fun as those I've enjoyed in the Capital. No. It was MORE FUN. A LOT more fun.
Our town shoots off fireworks over the Gulf, close to the drum circle beach, and from the drum circle beach you can also see the fireworks going off on the beach town a dozen miles north. Saturday is our normal drum circle night, so we arrived at five bearing our usual supplies: coolers full of drinks and food, the Djembe and assorted percussive devices, glow sticks, sunscreen, and the zebra striped fleece blanket that once was a crib blanket and now lives on as our beach blanket. I was wearing a brand new white bikini top, because what says God Bless The USA more than a white bikini? "I'm so glad you wore that," said our Sailor Friend. He'd brought two huge black lights, connected to a marine battery, and he was clearly looking forward to watching me glow.
We'd arrived at just the right moment. The beach was already getting crowded, but we lucked into a fantastic parking space. We nabbed a good spot in the circle, right next to one of the black lights, right in front of a family whose little boy always plays with my son. My son took off, running and playing with a few other boys in the center of the circle. As I watched them, I noticed that my son kept spitting. I pulled him back and sat him down on our blanket, lecturing him about how disgusting and disrespectful it is to spit. When he went back to play, though, he kept spitting! I retrieved him again, and this time a little light bulb went off. I asked him to open his mouth, and there they were -- two new adult teeth, poking up behind his baby incisors. From the looks of these teeth, they've been there for a while. I just hadn't noticed.
(For the record, this discovery freaked me out a bit, because surely it cannot be normal to possess two rows of teeth in the bottom of one's mouth. Google, for once, has been reassuring, and I've learned it's quite normal for adult teeth to come in behind their wiggly baby counterparts.)
Other than the shock of finding extra teeth in my baby's mouth, the evening was just perfect. Well, there was the bizarre appearance of cops who were threatening to arrest anyone who had glass on the beach (like, um, me. I had a bottle of shiraz-cabernet in my cooler bag, which I was mixing with Pepsi and drinking out of a travel mug. I just kept the bag zipped unless I was actually pouring.) but even that was funny. In DC on the 4th, the place is crawling with cops on Super Heightened Terrorist Alert. They're worried about dirty bombs and fanatics with shotguns. Here, the big crime concern is people who've brought bottles of Corona rather than cans of Coors.
Really, it was perfect. The weather wasn't too hot, it didn't rain, the sunset was gorgeous, the drumming was excellent, and I'd skipped Friday's Pilates class so I wasn't too sore to dance. And I danced and I danced and I danced, all through the fireworks display and on into the night, while around us kids ran with sparklers and adults lit Roman candles. The beach was more crowded than I've ever seen it, and yet the crowd had a happy, friendly vibe. And yes, my white bikini top was extremely impressive in the black light. I was definitely glowing.