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Friday, July 2, 2010

Fair St. Louis

Fourth of July always holds good memories for me. When I was a little girl, my parents and I would have sparklers and snakes and smoke bombs in the back yard until it got dark. Then our back yard neighbors would have real fireworks; he was the chief of police so no-one came to his house to enforce the fireworks ban from the county. We lived north of the city on the riverbluffs and I can still remember hearing the fireworks downtown start and my parents going with me up to the top of the hill where the quarry was so we could see the fireworks. We'd see the big flash and then moments later hear the bang; it's about 8 miles as the crow flies.

When I got old enough to drive I'd go with girlfriends - or sometime boyfriends down to see the VP fair. I can remember parking in some sketchy alley north of laclede's landing and walking down to see the fair. It was always so hot and no-one carried water bottles back then - I don't know how I didn't pass out. Then we'd sit down on the cobblestones on the riverside of Lenor K. Sullivan and you could feel the booms of the fireworks. They'd hit you right in the chest with percussive force. If the wind was wrong, you sometimes got hot embers too - wow!

I got to see fireworks from three different municipalities at a time when I lived in Des Moines. We'd sit on a hill above a local grocery store and watch for the fireworks. We got a little wet one year when the sprinklers went off!

In Charleston, I could see the Isle of Palms ones if I walked out to the salt marsh behind my apartments. The best year was the year my boyfriend borrowed a boat from the floating plant at the dredge and we watched fireworks on the harbor. We got to see several different shows before we brought the skiff back. Ours wasn't a fancy boat, but we didn't have to wait at the boat ramp to take it out and then wash it off before bed. Tres convenient!

I think it's interesting that the VP fair is now Fair St. Louis. I try to remember to call it that; but it's still the VP fair in my heart. With all the mystery of the Veiled Prophet from Khorassan and the pretty young ladies that I wanted to - but couldn't ever - be. This year I'm going to a friend's brother's house in St. Charles to watch fireworks that they've choreographed to music. It won't be the same as turning on KMOX while standing on the top of the quarry; but it'll be fun. Even if there's not an arch and I'm not in my nightie....

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