"WOW," said Willa. "Wow. WOW! wow."
We spread our blanket between the Grand River and the Waterworks building, very near the playground Willa had conquered last weekend. The fireworks were visible, but not so loud that she needed the professional grade ear muff protectors we brought along (nice to have a husband in the sound business). Most of the "wows" were dedicated to the fireworks.
The others were whispered while she watched the big kids crawling, leaping, sliding - all frantic - on "her" jungle gym. It looked like a beehive: swarming and humming with crazy energy. Jim helped Willa get to the slide without the sugar & firework buzzed kids trampling the newest, smallest member of the colony. I held my breath, waiting for her to be squashed.
The fireworks were... well, fireworks. Big, and bright and noisy. Probably less flashy this year, due to budget constraints. The crowd had a haze of bug spray and borderline meanness.
I love the Detroit fireworks, because I've always felt a spirit of "this is our City (with a capital C) and, even if most of us travel from the 'burbs and then try to get the heck out to not get stuck on I-75, we're all in it together." Last night in Grand Rapids, there was more of a "I'm kind of drunk and if you get in my way I'll swear at you." vibe. This is a city with an overall kinder, gentler culture, yet I didn't feel it last night.
Huh, after writing that I'm thinking that the crowd last night was a lot like the big, bright and noisy fireworks. Except without the bright. In Detroit - and perhaps I'm idealizing here because the even is so entwined with my childhood - I always felt like the crowd adopted the intended nobility of the fireworks.