As I was lying in the cool grass, a warm breeze crossed with smoke wafted over my shoulders and into the face of my Laney, a warning flashed through my head redolent with the snap, crackle, pop, fizz of the amateur pyrotechnics shows nearly at every angle around us.
Taking my eyes off Laney, and ignoring the chants of my wife and the discordant din of a thousand other voices, I turned to see what was going on around me, and noticed a thick, white cloud was covering the park. In the diminishing light, and peering through my sunglasses I was wearing to prevent Laney from poking my bad eye, the shadow of folks and the lights from each encampment made me think of a civil war camp surrounded by enemy fire. While the "enemy fire" during the Civil War, or the Revolutionary War was real, the enemy fire in the case of July 4, 2010, was the billowing remains of all the amateurs. Man, I couldn't believe how much smoke there was. And it wasn't going away anytime soon.
It was actually illegal to light armature pyrotechnics on the beach, or in the park, or near the playgrounds, or near the condominiums that lined the skyline behind me and to the East (a calm Lake Michigan sat to the West on this 87 degree, hot and humid evening), it was not even remotely possible for this to be enforced.
Moments later, when the real fire works show started, you could hear the bang of the bombs echo as they seemed to bounce off the condominiums. It was almost as though you could see the initial firework, followed by a bang, and then you'd hear the bang echo, and then you'd hear it again, moments later, as it seemed to ricochet off those condominiums.
So, while the other folks were busy entertaining their minds with the light show, or trying to aim Laney in that direction (as her mind was amazed by the light show yet easily sidetracked), I was busy looking around, and enjoying the noise and the smoke. Quite frankly, other than me, or other than the few who have a visual head and a love for history and no need to see any more fireworks, I doubt there were many who let their mind wander in such a fashion -- as they breathed in a puff of stale, humid, smokey air.
Hence, one could only have empathy for any asthmatics who might have been fighting in the wars of our past, where such encampments were common place, and the bangs, and the smoke. To avoid it would be nearly impossible. To avoid the humidity in days of old would have been impossible as well. So one could see, or at least this humble asthmatic, that war would also be a place for an asthmatic to avoid -- as well as the public pyrotechnics displays.
Today, yes today, this asthmatic and all those around me, would get up and wander to their cars, and slowly drive off, or walk away (as was the case with my family) to their cars where they would turn on the air conditioning and enjoy the fresh, cool air. And then they would go home and sleep in the comforts of their own cozy beds.
Now keep in mind none of the smoke was from the professionally set fireworks but from armatures . And the smoke didn't really bother my asthma, as mine is really well controlled. Although I can remember times in the past where there was poor asthma control, and the inevitable trip to the ER soon followed. I wondered how many asthmatics would be making such a trip this evening.