I had brought a few of the kids from our church group; my family was there too. People pulled out their fold out chairs and sat behind their vehicles, sipping on a soda, or eating some chips. Kids ran around the parking lot blowing bubbles or squirting each other with water guns. My mom and dad had planted themselves in two fold-out chairs and were eating the sandwiches we had brought.
It was still daylight, but some people began to light up some 'good ol’ fourth' that they had brought themselves. Nothing fancy (as it’s illegal to have the ‘good stuff’ in NC), just some sparklers and smoke bombs. A few kids ran by throwing poppers.
I had planted myself on the trunk of my car, watching all of this unfold. I was sipping on a soda myself. I had two kids on my lap, one was two and the other was five. My youngest niece sat beside me, she was in her teens, and my nephew was on the other side; he was also in his teens.
Someone behind us in the next isle began to set off the firecrackers on the string. I remember the sound they made as each individual firecracker exploded. After the entire string had exploded, I heard, “Go get the sparklers.”
The next thing I know, there was a sound I couldn’t quite place. The sound it made reminded me of when you shake a soda and it fizzes over. That sound was followed by three loud thuds. Those ‘thuds’ came from my car--
I was turning around to figure out what that sound was, when something shot through my long hair, just missing my neck, past me, into the crowd. It all happened so fast; I didn’t have time to process what I had just witnessed. I managed to follow the flowing light into the cars in front of me, where it then exploded, sending darts of fire in all directions. Towards us, towards others in the crowd, bouncing off vehicles, tents, chairs. People darted in every direction, screaming, and knocking things over. More waves of fire followed.
How I managed to shove both my niece and nephew off the car and then tuck and roll with the two little ones off the back of my car, I have no idea.
“Move,” was the only thing I could think to scream before I shoved everyone overboard.
The pavement wasn’t very forgiving, but it was more forgiving than the darts of flames that were now bouncing off my car. Don’t worry, the kids landed on top of me—not under me.
Although an individual fire work doesn’t really last that long, it felt like an eternity. When the smoke finally cleared, a guy ran up past my car. He seemed shocked and almost hysterical. Get in line, bud. We made eye contact when I stood up, brushing the kids off.
“Are you alright,” he asked. He seemed genuinely worried and upset.
“Yeah,” I answered as the kids ran off to go play somewhere else.
I glanced back at my car to find several dark spots from where this thing bounced off my car several times before it whizzed past me.
“I thought it was a glow stick,” he cried, looking over the damage.
A glow stick--
“That was a roman candle,” I told him.
He still seemed shocked that he had mixed them up.
Those are illegal! How did you even—you know what, never mind.
Happy National, give-fireworks-to-people-you-wouldn’t-trust-with-a-glow-stick day!