Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Light sticks replace sparklers as Fourth of July traditions evolve

I noticed lots of kids were waving colored light sticks at the Fourth of July celebration on Bellingham's waterfront. Personal fireworks are banned in Bellingham, WA. I got to thinking that the light stick can be viewed as the sparkler of the modern era. Fourth of July Traditions are changing. Light sticks are safer than the sparklers that my generation had as kids, but the modern events can still create fond memories. Just different memories.

Watching the city's giant fireworks display is a part of the tradition. We didn't have a city display in the town of Pullman, WA. where I grew up back when I was a kid at least. We did have quite a neighborhood tradition where folks gathered on a hillside for a picnic. After the food, kids would set off personal fireworks on the road below. Parents watched from the hillside that worked like an amphitheater. There were found memories, but also nerve wracking moments; like the time a pinwheel shot into the audience and almost set Mrs. Powers stockings on fire.

Some people lament the loss of the personal fireworks. They feel the Fourth has been denuded; like a cat that's had it's claws removed. I'm okay with the ban and the evolving traditions. At the same time, I notice why some of these changes are happening. For instance, it seems like folks are a lot more finicky about their pets, these days. Back in my childhood days, dogs and cats would cower, during the Fourth, but their owners seemed less worried about it. Folks are more fussy about their pets these days. Safety standards seem higher these days also.

So the traditions keep changing and the Fourth continues to make memories. I also notice that many of the light sticks are rainbow colors. Some hardcore conservatives might lament that the Fourth is becoming too, what they would call "sissy."

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