Saturday, June 26, 2010

Something to celebrate

Next weekend marks my one-year in Portland. A year ago today, I relinquished the keys to my apartment in Morristown and began to pack my car.

The above photo taken last night by this artist represents one of the differences between my two home states. In New Jersey, not only are fireworks illegal, but so are sparklers. Like riding in the backs of pickup trucks and pumping one's own gas*, safe handling of these dangerous items is deemed outside the capabilities of the general public.

We still used sparklers in New Jersey &mdash but furtively, and usually only on the 4th of July. After watching the Lake Mohawk fireworks display, we would march back to my house, cluster in the backyard where, out of sight from the road and police cars, we could enjoy our forbidden pleasure from south of the border**.

Last night in Portland, Oregon, there was no need for such secrecy. We lit our sparklers on the front steps and twirled around with them in the front yard, in plain view of the street. Note the white lights in the top right corner of the photograph. I like to think that is the police officer we encountered who, upon driving by, not only didn't arrest us (but did inspire an atavistic, fearful ache in my stomach) but also rolled down his driver's side window, paused, and cheered at us and our sparklers, "YEEAAHHH!!!!!!"

* The latter of these is also illegal in Oregon.
** That is, South of the Border, a Mexican-ish hotel/crazyplace on I-95 in South Carolina and a necessary stop on family road trips to Florida.

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