Sitting in a restaurant eating food I never would have touched two years ago, I am struck by how much I have adapted. Watching friends shoot off fireworks from a mortar in front of the house, next to my car, I am struck by how much I have not.

For me, fireworks displays mean sitting on a blanket in J. Birney Crumb stadium, listening to the Allentown Band play the 1812 Overture while the fire department provides the cannon. I was completely ill at ease last night, surrounded by neighbors with bottle rockets, watching my sometimes common-sense-free boyfriend hold a Roman candle. The afternoon started pleasantly enough, with ten of us gathered for a little cookout, but by 9pm, we were in the driveway with fireworks littered all over the bed of a pickup truck. (One spinner lept up into the air, flew over our heads, and bounced off the end of that pickup truck.) See, in Allentown, they outlawed sparklers. In Texas, outside of city limits, anything's game, and my friends live in a little chunk of No Man's Land between Austin and Cedar Park.

We escaped at quarter to 10. I suppose the evening ended without incident, but I had a vivid vision of Jon running to me with third-degree burns on his face and three fingers gone from his hand. This holiday makes me home sick.

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