However, to me that blanket is special. I remember many a July 4th when our family would park along the street of a residential neighborhood and walk what must have been close to a quarter of a mile to find an empty spot on the grass of a local park. All of our arms would be full. Some of us would be carrying lawn chairs. Some of us would carry jackets for when the heat of the hot Texas sun finally dissipated and it got chilly. Someone would be dragging the old orange and white cooler along. Inside the cooler, there would be ice-cold lemonade, and cold fried chicken. My mother would always have brought along some salted popcorn (made on the stove, not the microwave back then), fruit, and some cookies.
That was our tradition. We'd lie on blankets, my brothers and I, straining our eyes against the dusky sky-- looking for the firemen setting up the fireworks. People around us would be waving sparklers.
Finally, you would hear it, the slight whistle of a rocket shooting up in the sky. You would try to guesstimate just how far up it would go, and then-- all of a sudden, bright lights filled the sky.
The green and black blanket was used to duck and cover when the loud cannon booms that rattled our young eardrums would go off. There were many holes poked through it by little fingers as we wanted to be under cover, but still able to see the night sky.
At the end of it all, the sky would be filled with smoke. There were several years when fireworks fell on a dried up cluster of trees and created quite an impressive blaze. After it all ended, we'd stagger back to the car, as suddenly the sleepiness and full-belly combo hit.
After we moved to Arizona, there still were firework shows, but it wasn't the same. By then, my older brother and I were well on our way to becoming miserable teens, and it just wasn't as magical.