Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I Survived the Fourth of July

by Julie Coulter Bellon

Yesterday started out as a normal fourth of July for us, but we were having a hard time deciding where we wanted to be to watch the fireworks. There are several fireworks displays around us and we usually go to the really large one in Provo, a show called the Stadium of Fire, with some friends and my husband’s sister. However, they were out of town this year and we didn’t know if we wanted to make the trek all the way down there with thousands of other people without them there. So we decided to maybe try our city’s fireworks display. Some of our children were disappointed because the show that the Stadium of Fire puts on is really spectacular and they didn’t know if our city would have anything near as good. Troupers that they are, however, they decided to give it a try.

I went down early to our high school football field where other people were putting out blankets. I did the same and managed to get a really great spot—front and center. The football field was being ripped up, so the city was setting up the fireworks on the field of dirt. I thought that the crowd seemed to be a little close to the actual fireworks, but, I reasoned, the firemen would never put a crowd too close to a fireworks display and with all the fire danger in Utah, I was sure they would have extra precautions.

We got there just before dusk and sat on our blanket with the children and played games. Firemen came around handing out frisbees and by the time it was dark there were several hundred people there on the sloped hill surrounding the football field.

Darkness fell and it was finally time for the show. As soon as the first fireworks went off and my son and I were pelted with debris, I realized the crowd was too close. Occasional flaming balls of fire started falling on people’s blankets and everyone in the crowd was craning their necks to see the blanket that caught fire briefly. My own son’s blanket had a hot cinder fall on it and my heart almost stopped until my husband was able to stamp out the flame. Firemen started wandering in the crowd to help them with the falling debris as well as the fireballs. It definitely made the show more--how can we say-- well, not really entertaining, just more edgy. I had never seen anything like it!

But the fun didn’t stop there! Two large fireworks, you know, the kind that make the large ball in the sky, misfired and exploded on the field, so not only were the fireballs falling from the sky, but they were now shooting toward us from the front as well! I think the entire crowd simultaneously moved back as far as they could. It was then that I realized that we were fenced in like cattle. If anything serious happened, I had six children with me and we could be trampled or burned before we could reach one of the two exits that were small to begin with. I comforted myself with the fact that the show was almost over and after two misfires and obvious miscalculations, surely they would be more careful.

I was wrong.

It was the grand finale. Several fireworks were lit and lighting up the sky in rapid succession. I knew it was leading up to the huge ball that most fireworks display end on when suddenly there was a large explosion. It had exploded on the field instead of in the air. A collective scream went up from the crowd as people were hit with debris, flaming cinders, and the trees on the edge of the field caught fire as well as a shed. The fires in the trees got big pretty quickly and emergency crews were scrambling—two fire trucks and an ambulance.

Luckily we weren’t hit and weren’t in any immediate danger. We stood up to watch the fires burning and the emergency crews working to put the flames out. My daughter, who hadn’t been excited to come to this display because she’d wanted to go to the one in Provo, said, "this was the best fireworks EVER!" I chuckled and we started for home when my son said, "we should make t-shirts that say we survived this fireworks show."

I most certainly agreed.

*As a side note, our guest blogger from a few weeks ago, Meredith Dias, has released her first e-book, Periphery. It is an amazing story of love, betrayal and belonging. You can find out more about it here She has the vocabulary of a Kerry Blair, the flair for drama of a Rachel Nunes, and a Betsy Brannon Green twist that will leave you turning pages long into the night. Definitely worth checking out!


At 7/05/2007 6:05 PM, Blogger marnie said...

Sounds like somebody's going to lose their job as fireworks coordinator in Pleasant Grove! What a story, Julie. You do manage to land in some exciting places. :)

Everybody, I've read Meredith's ebook. It's wonderful. She's definitely got a gift for words. Would that I had half that woman's vocabulary!

Glad you survived, Julie, and congrats to Meredith!

At 7/05/2007 6:38 PM, Blogger ali said...

Holy Wild Fireworks Batman!

You survived to tell the tale and what an entertaining tale it was too!

At 7/05/2007 7:48 PM, Blogger Jon said...

FWIW, the fireworks show in Provo was AWESOME!

I've been to the Stadium of Fire and had hot cinders in my hair. Not fun, although yours sounds much more, um, exciting! (Not that I would've wanted to experience that.)

At 7/05/2007 9:19 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

That sounds like something to tell the grandkids about. And of course it will grow every year with the telling. :)

At 7/05/2007 10:13 PM, Blogger Lu Ann Brobst Staheli said...

I used to work for Stadium of Fire and we've had our own exciting nights, like the one the stage caught on fire. We kept telling Alan Osmond, "The stage is on fire!" and his response was: "Yeah, isn't it pretty?" There was also the year we set off 1 million firecrackers. It looked like the BOMB! Afterwards, NuSkin made t-shirts that said, "I survived Stadium of Fire" for their employees. Fireworks can be interesting, and even sometimes fun.

At 7/06/2007 12:47 PM, Anonymous Marlene said...

Your experiences remind me of my own 4th--sitting at home watching the Boston Pops with my family history binder in front of me. Doesn't sound like fire falling from the sky, but... I have been researching a man from Hillsborough, New Hampshire, which is about eighty miles northwest of Boston, and had just read, "He was wounded at the battle of Bunker Hill and was remarkable for his skill in throwing stones. After exhausting his ammunition, 'he seized stone, and began hurling them at the enemy, and not without effect.'" You may have been experienceing more of a reinactment of the real battles than you wanted, but a GREAT history lesson in the making!


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