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The Ultimate Consumeristic July 4th

We have celebrated July 4th several different ways as a family over the years: when we lived in New York, we’d throw a picnic blanket on the floor and watch the Macy’s fireworks show out our window on the horizon. A couple years ago we went to a minor league baseball game and had a fabulous time, with fireworks at the end and everything. Last year we were in Florida and watched distant fireworks from the beach.

This year we discussed our options. There are several places in our area to see quality fireworks; the problem with them all is that they’re all, um, outside.

Now, before you roll your eyes at me, let me tell you two things. One, it was ninety-five degrees last night. At nine p.m. And two, we’ve got chiggers, y’all. Bad.

If you don’t know what chiggers are, thank your lucky stars. Chiggers are (I am not making this up, and yes, that’s the common name for them) microscopic bugs that live in the grass, crawl up your legs, and burrow under your skin. The subsequent raised welt – the spot where they live happily for several WEEKS – is about fifty times itchier than a mosquito bite. And they are mighty attracted to tight spots on your body, so they’re most likely to be found in your armpit, along your bra strap, at your bikini line, the top of your butt crack – all nice, comfy spots to scratch discreetly in public for a couple weeks. And as of yet, we’ve found no remedy for the spots.

It’s been a particularly bad year for chiggers since we had an incredibly mild winter, and Cora came home from vacation Bible school with several bites a day – from the fifteen minutes of outside play time they’d get. So this year I was reluctant to sit in chigger-infested grass in one hundred-degree heat with cranky kids up past their bedtime, particularly an elder child who worries the whole time during fireworks that something will actually catch fire.

Call me lazy.

So this year we tried something new. Yesterday morning we went to an early-morning parade, and stood on the street and cheered our local vets and troops and beauty queens. We had a great time and the whole thing was over before the weather hit triple digits. Then we went home, made ice cream, ate hamburgers and hot dogs, and watched world-class fireworks from our picnic blanket on our floor in front of our television.

Let me tell you, it was pretty darn nice. No worrying where the potty was, no long lines to get home, no traffic jams, no whiney kids. And yes, I understand it was the ultimate in consumerism, to watch fireworks in air-cooled comfort on a big-screen television. I get that.

But it sure was nice.

And my bikini-line is chigger-free. That’s freedom, baby.


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