The boy in the blue shirt and his friend stopped me as I was going into my yard, “happy 4th of July,” they said. “Happy holiday to you,” I responded.
“Do you like fireworks?” the boy in blue asked. “I like the pretty ones on the Mall,” I replied, “but I don’t like the loud, smoky ones on the street. I find them too noisy, and too much of a fire hazard.” “Oh,” he said, and ran off down the street.
Tonight, if previous years are a reliable indicator, he and his friends and family will light dozens upon dozens of illegal fireworks on my street, pausing only to let the bus go by. They will scream with delight every time they startle themselves with a big one. I will water the front to help prevent fire, marvel at human inventiveness, and ponder the nature of freedom.