This may be the first year that I willingly skip going to the July 3rd fireworks in Portsmouth. The first and foremost reason is practical—I have to work the next morning, and the fireworks start right after I’ve gotten under the covers and start reading a book. Traffic getting out of Portsmouth is always a nightmare anyway, so I definitely would not get home for bedtime. My sister and brother-in-law offered a seat on their boat in Kittery Point Harbor, but it’s not the same as actually being there.
Even then, “being there” is losing its interest for me. Every year throughout my childhood my parents took me to the pond where the fireworks were set off. We took sat on the steps of the courthouse on the opposite side of the pond from the cannons. As time went on it ceased to be a family affair but I still kept going. I liked the commotion around the pond. As an adult I would enjoy bar-hopping once the fireworks were over. I may not be the most social human but I enjoy people-watching. It just made the downtown area of Portsmouth come alive.
There have been a couple of years in which I’ve had to skip going because of work. But for the most part I’ve been going to the Portsmouth fireworks every year since I was a kid. In recent years, however, I’ve noticed that I really kept going just because I felt like I had to, not because I wanted to. I don’t particularly enjoy the experience like I once did. I never connected the fireworks because of the holiday, either. I’m not patriotic—not as a result of my feelings about my country. But I dislike blind patriotism.
If they happen on a Friday or Saturday night when I want to go out anyway, then fine. (I actually heard fireworks in the distance earlier tonight but I have no idea where they were. I doubt it would make a difference.) But I’m not going to go out of my way to see them anymore. I could stay up late to watch them tomorrow, but I doubt it. I would rather get a good night’s sleep instead.
I could try making a larger point here about giving up childhood rituals but I won’t bother reading that much into it. It’s only one this time. I have more of an attachment with the things from my childhood than the events. That could be a problem, too, but I’ll leave that subject for another time.