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Lighting up the sky

The weekend went well. Not the major drama many of us expected. A pretty fun party all in all. Friday saw us all running around making last minute preparations. Rob came over to help me fix the tractor (which he had broken trying to surprise me with a mowed barnyard when I got in). He stopped and talked for awhile with Deb and I before going back over to Kenny’s to pour concrete.

I got the rest of the mowing done and made arrangements for tables and electric roasting pans and what not. That evening I cleaned the house for guests the next day.

Saturday morning I finished the upstairs. You can actually see the floor in my bedroom for the first time in maybe 5 years. With all the remodeling we’ve been doing, everything seems to get shoved in my room and then we just close the door when guests are over. Shame though since I like to show off the antique bed in my room. So it’s nice to have it clean again.

Once the house was ready, I needed to run over to our other farm near Bowen, Il and pick up some tables, signs, cooking containers and yard games. Then I swung down to Camp Point to see if I could locate Danny and Lisa Shouse, some old friends of mine who used to be regulars at the annual party. They missed last year for some reason. They were both sleeping when I got there as Danny is a short haul trucker and had just finished an 18 hour shift earlier that morning. His stepson went in to wake them both up for me. Lisa was obviously not awake when she came out in a short t-shirt and nothing else. She looked at me for a minute, then realized who I was about 2 seconds before she realized she was unclothed from the waist down. Hell of a greeting after not seeing her for 2 years. Presently, she got a little more dressed and took me out to the kitchen to talk. Danny got up a bit later and they told me about their recent trip to Hawaii. Lisa’s youngest daughter has cancer and the Make a Wish Foundation sent them on a week-long trip. We talked for about 30 minutes and caught up. I invited them to the party and took off. Got home around 3 pm and proceeded to set the road signs out so people would know where to turn.

Rob showed up with a load of stuff. Food, fish cooker, tables. EZ Up tent. We got the barnyard set up and agreed on who as cooking what. It was the Rob and mark Fryin and Grillin show that day. He was deep frying bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish along with potatoes, zucchini and cucumbers. I was grilling cabbage, sweet corn, baby back ribs, hamburgers and hot dogs. Other guests were bringing potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans, corn casserole and deviled eggs. We started cooking around 5 pm and guests started arriving around 6. We were all eating by 7.

There was at any one time about 60 people there. Lots of little kids who were fun to watch. They were picking mulberries and running around the barnyard like critters. The older kids were off by themselves trying to get into trouble. Evin was showing his 3 friends all the fireworks we’d bought for the show that night. So here’s what a couple thousand dollars worth of fireworks looks like:

Evin’s friends were impressed and he got to show off the stuff I bought for him to make up for the fact I didn’t take him to the plant with me to pick up the fireworks in the first place.

There was this one little round headed kid named Gage. Looked like a cross between Calvin and Charlie Brown. Very precocious youngster. He was 6 and trying to get his 8 year old sister in trouble. His mom was having none of it. She was just trying to get him not to lose his glasses. I overheard this exchange:

Gage: Mom! Megan ate poisonous berries!
Mom: (with no hesitation) Gage, where are your glasses?

Poor kid knew he was defeated right away. Not sure they ever found his glasses. Mom had the look of someone who’d bought more than one pair of glasses so far.

A State cop showed up before dark. He was making sure we knew what we were doing with the fireworks. He said he was heading for Mt. Sterling so he would be nowhere near when the complaints started pouring in from all over the county. My neighbors love the fireworks but I’m sure someone would complain because we were shooting fireworks and they couldn’t.

Rob and I with help from Kenny and some biker dude whose name escapes me now got the fireworks all set up just before dark. Rob and I fired the show around 9:30. It lasted about 20 minutes and caused enough smoke to keep mosquitoes away for another hour. I’m sure all the critters in the woods were down in their holes wondering what the hell that noise was.

Afterwards, we got out the sparklers (the long wooden kind, not metal) for the kids. Then Evin and his friends shot off all the rockets for the little kids. Presently, I heard a string of 5000 Black Cats going off. I was about to yell at Evin for getting into his Dad’s stuff but then I saw Rob emerging from a cloud of smoke with a big grin on his face. I figured if he was going to act like a big kid, I could too and went to get the Roman Candles. I love those damned dangerous things!

We were left with a huge cloud of smoke and a lot of smiling faces. Then I was able to eat something finally and open up a bottle of mead which I ended up drinking all on my lonesome not that I was complaining a bit. I don’t drink before doing fireworks, none of the team do. And I wasn’t driving anywhere so that’s my one night of the year to get pleasantly drunk. About 1 am people started to head for home. Danny and Lisa stayed until 2 to catch us up on their lives. Deb and I were in bed by 3 am.

Rob showed up the next morning around 10 and by noon we had the whole mess cleaned up. Leftover food was packed away and sent home with people the night before so the spent fireworks and paper plates all hit the burn pile. I finished all the dishes by 2 and Deb and I relaxed the rest of the day. We meant to leave by 6 but strong storms and tornado warnings kept us grounded until late. The Power went out a couple times and we headed for the basement a couple other times when we could hear the tornado sirens closer to town. Of course right before the storms started is when I found out the power windows in the farm truck had stopped working with the windows down. I’m sure some of the 4 inches of rain we got made it’s way in despite the trash bag I taped to the window. So we ended up spending the night and riving back to Chicagoland Monday morning. We had some damage from flying debris and a few trees down but nothing we aren’t used to from 15 years of living here. Life goes on.




( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 30th, 2008 03:14 am (UTC)
I have the same pillowcases. :)
Jul. 30th, 2008 12:17 pm (UTC)
Flannel sheets are awesome in the winter! I think we got those and a Moose set at Target about 5 years ago.

Jul. 30th, 2008 03:38 am (UTC)
The wallpaper gave me a giggle. Please tell me it is vintage.
Ever notice that what didn't look that bad the night before is the biggest mess ever to clean up in the morning?

And - How is it the one place that should never be cluttered and disastrous is the first place everyone shoves things?


Sounds like a wonderful weekend.
Jul. 30th, 2008 12:20 pm (UTC)
My room usually gets all the junk because the folks are there and I'm away in Texas or some such. The wallpaper came with the house. I'd have never chosen it and especially not on the ceilling. You get used to it though. As far as I can tell from old photos, it's been there since the 40's. It was a store room when we took over the house 15 years ago.

Jul. 30th, 2008 04:51 am (UTC)
For the mom of the kid, you might point her at this place, which has gotten rave reviews from my friends.

And damn! That is a an awesome bed. :)
Jul. 30th, 2008 12:22 pm (UTC)
I'll have to do a post on the bed. It has a really interesting history. Nice to sleep in but you worry a bit when engaged in other activities as the headboard will sway a bit and that centerpiece is very heavy.

Jul. 30th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
A good time was had by all.
No money for that much display for me. The refrigerator goodies look familiar.

One year I had everybody wear plastic garbage bags and took M80's to watermelon on top of a rubber maid garbage can.

Another year same concept but made a big paddle out of a 2X4 and had everybody whack a mole or melon so to speak. :)

Good job, the paybacks come in the memories.

(no gathering for my clan this year, we are all to old to mass)

Edited at 2008-07-30 04:24 pm (UTC)
Jul. 31st, 2008 05:58 am (UTC)
Re: A good time was had by all.
We take up a collection for the fireworks. I was only into it for about $200. Destroying fruit sounds fun. Sometime we shoot pumpkins with shotguns. We should go for melons next year.

Jul. 30th, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC)
That is a looming headboard.
Jul. 31st, 2008 05:58 am (UTC)
Especially when you get it rocking during various activities.

Jul. 31st, 2008 11:19 am (UTC)
I'd be afraid to. It might fall down and crush me. Or eat me. Or be like the bed in The Haunting with all the ghostly children crawling around on it.
Jul. 31st, 2008 12:58 pm (UTC)
More likely you'd wake up to find my grandma laying next to you.

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )