Saturday, September 6, 2008

Lighting Up Labor Day

Our Labor Day picnic was on fire! Literally.

(Many, many, many apologies, first born children, clothing gift cards and near eternal servitude to our friend Lisa for the tale of tragedy I am about to share!)

As usual, I had a brain burp on Friday and decided to have a small picnic on Monday to celebrate the end of the summer season. Of course, today it's hot and humid, so it is all relative.

I called up a few people I like to frolic with (read: people who are way cool and whose children play nice with mine). We all planned a low key festa of burgers, dogs and various salads. We've all been healthfully influenced by our friends who have worked miracles with their health and waistlines. No longer are our buffets full o' fried, fatty goodness--veggies and fruit are front and center.

We ate. We played. We had a full contact game of Boccie ball. It was fab-yoo-lous.

The fire in the pit was gorgeous. It burned down to warm and cozy embers. We roasted some corn and chatted about God, the election, kids, cheese, whatever and nothing. It was glorious.

I love to entertain. I call it channeling my inner Martha. This is the first time I have truly had a space to bring people to and feed them in. With my type A uber-host father, having people over is an exhausting and awesome time.

We laughed. We ate some more. Then, well, the fireworks started. Literally.

My husband has a not so secret pyromaniac streak. It's not enough to warrant treatment, however, it does warrant the hose and some neosporin. (To protect us from potential prosecution I will now switch tenses in my blogging. It's illegal to have fireworks in our state. It wasn't us. It was the...ummm....Shecky family....yeah, that's the ticket.)

So anyway, the Sheckies, (anyone else giggle at that? i just did.) sat down to enjoy a few harmless, bright and stinky fireworks. We, I mean they, were scattered in comfy lawn chairs around the fire pit and under the gazebo. Children were in laps. Claps were offered for bigger, louder booms and oohs-aahs-and ohs were emitted too. Mr. Shecky was in his glory.

Then the unthinkable happened. One fell over, shooting firey rockets not into the beautiful night sky but right into the gazebo where we sat.

Picture a scene from "Saving Private Ryan" where everything is in slow motion and people are ducking for cover. The missiles weren't shells, but rather brightly colored greens, blues and pinks aiming directly for our heads! I ended up in the wood pile. Friends ended up under tables and in the bricks. Lisa ended up on fire.

When the sulfur laden smoke cleared Lisa was stopping, dropping and rolling. Her shirt suffered a direct hit. My dad, I mean Mr. Shecky Sr., quickly lept into action putting out the fire. Mrs. Shecky grabbed the nearest fire device I could find, a handful of ice from the cooler, and threw it on her.

You really can tell a true friendship by the way you collectively handle near tragedy. We were thankful and breathed a sigh of relief the only real casualty was Lisa's shirt. We laughed the nervous laugh of a group of people thankful not to be sitting in the ER.

Later, when Lisa stopped shaking and I stopped wanting to kill Mr. Shecky, we did what we always do in good times and bad. We prayed. Mr. Shecky prayed for Lisa, as he should.

And, as sometimes happen, in good times and bad, we ended up laughing. We laughed from our spirits, our hearts, our mouths and smiles. We laughed in thankfulness at no casualties. We laughed at having a friendship now forged in real fire. We laughed because we could.

I'm planning a BYOBS picnic when the weather is cooler. (B: bring, Y: your, O: own, B: bowl, and S: spoon) will have huge pots of wedding and other soups, warm bread and spiced wine. It will NOT have fireworks!

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