Porter was viciously assaulted by sunbeams and birdsong at 6:30. From a nearby early-opening cafe I brought him back pastries and coffee for myself. We returned the keys to red-haired Helen at the corner shop, and drove to Park Slope to pick up my cousin Fred. Taking his New York non-driver's bad advice, I crossed the Manhattan Bridge and spent an hour crossing Chinatown on a gridlocked Canal Street. I didn't care, since this borrowed van has a working air-conditioner, and I could watch the promenade in peace.
We made it to my parents' house in the afternoon. We don't usually gather at this time of year, but Cathie came with 10-month old Leo, and Chris would arrive the next day. So we opened the watermelon I'd brought.
Lititz Springs Park held it's first Independence Day celebration in 1811, and boasts one of the longest continuous traditions of July 4th celebration (196 years and counting). As we arrived, around 8:30, the Queen of Candles pageant was announcing the winner, a local high school senior selected by her peers. And then the candles were lit. Thousands of them suspended above the stream that rushes from the springs and hisses the length of the park in it's stone-walled channel. They made a great flickering slash through the dimness.
We spread old blankets on the ground for us to lay on - and for Leo to crawl around on. Porter climbed the tree above us. Over the years I've grown more indifferent to fireworks, but this show, accompanied by music from Clair Brothers Audio, was spectacular - possibly the best I've ever seen. Leo would pause in his explorations sometimes to watch the colorful explosions. Eventually, Porter came down out of the tree to sit with us.