More Fireworks

Tonight, being the Fourth, we had fireworks here in Champaign-Urbana. Maya was not interested in going, but Georgia was—the cousins were going to be there. So, even though Suzanne and Husayn and Amia were visiting, we piled our gear (and Georgia) into the bicycle trailer and headed over to campus to meet Zivar (my sister), Mom, and Zivar’s three girls.

I didn’t know what to do with the cell phone (we were coordinating our rendezvous with technology this year, since somehow in the last twelve months all three of us had been hooked up), so I gave it to Georgia. As soon as we started down our little street towards the park, it rang.


Georgia, can you answer that? Press the green button.

(Georgia has never felt comfortable answering a phone.)



(Georgia had answered the phone! She didn’t sound shy or scared or anything.)

We’re on a bike. I’ll get him. Billy, its Grandma Amy!

Umm, I can’t answer it right now. Can you talk to her? Tell her where we are.

(We were crossing Broadway into the park, which we would cross on our way to campus.)

(very calmly) He can’t answer it right now. He’s riding a bike.

Tell her you’re in a bike trailer.

I’m in a bike trailer.

Georgia reported that they were just starting out toward the planned fireworks rendezvous; I directed her to tell them we were too, which she did.


Press the red button to hang up.

Okay, I did it.

Isn’t that the first time you really talked on a phone?


I tell you, going on an adventure—even a little one like a bike ride to fireworks—brings out hidden strengths. Georgia was excited and confident, and she had the phone and knew that she was the only one who could answer it. So she did, and if she was shy or scared, I saw very little of it; she overcame it very quickly.

First phone call: cell phone in a bike trailer. Sign of her times. She’s a junior cadre in the People’s Technological Republic of Urbana.

We met up with Grandma and the cousins who were camped about 15 feet from the fence marking the no-man’s-land around the fireworks launch site. We could just lie on our backs and watch them explode above us. Zivar was the first to have cardboard tumble down and land on her leg, scorched but cooled. Grandma’s kind of crazy.

Georgia huddled with Nadine and watched excitedly. Zivar reported

I asked the girls how they were doing. They said, “It’s scary. Hee hee hee.”

On the way home, Georgia described the fireworks as “scary, dramatic, and exciting.” I didn’t even know she knew the word dramatic.

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