I'm Thankful For Blowing Things Up
I'll tell ya, I've never lived in a town that loved its fireworks the way Milwaukee does. Before I moved here, I just assumed that fireworks were simply for the 4th of July, and the occassional Grand Slam home run at Comiskey Park. Not Milwaukee. Festa Italiana? Fireworks! Festa ANYTHING? Fireworks! New façade at City Hall? Fireworks! New giraffe born at the zoo? Fireworks! Brett Favre has a successful bowel movement? Fireworks!
Anyway, the kids and I decided to have a family outing at Pere Marquette Park last Thursday for the Holiday Lights Lighting ceremony. On one hand, can't we wait until Thanksgiving to start in with the Ho Ho Ho of Christmas? (My way of protesting this is not to write about it until today, Thanksgiving proper. And I don't ever buy a thing on "Black Friday.") Stella even said, in a voice that was sitcom sincere, "Mom, it's not even Thanksgiving and the Christmas lights are all up and they're singing carols. This is absurd. Why do they even do this, anyway?"
"Because they need to get people excited about Christmas and get people to come downtown and start spending money, because Christmas season is really the season that makes or breaks a lot of stores and other things like restaurants."
"Seriously? Is that really the reason?" Stella asked. "Or is that you just being, what's the word for being like you…."
"Cynically sarcastic," I told her. "Yes, it's a cynical reason, but I'm not being sarcastic. That really is the reason. But the lights are still pretty and it's still cool that they have a big ol ceremony in one of our favorite parks, and free hot chocolate and other kids to play with while we wait in this cold, so let's just enjoy a lighting ceremony for what it is."
And being Milwaukee, "what is is," is another reason to shoot off fireworks! This wouldn't have been a Milwaukee event without 'em. And these were particularly cool, because they were shot off from across the river from Pere Marquette Park. They were low key, so the lights were bright and twinkly as they reflected across the water. Nevertheless, the fireworks of course made the actual lighting of the electrical lights kind of anti-climatic, but that will look a lot prettier once we get a snow. Yi was there, accompanied by the Bucks Energee Girls to usher in the season in his thick Chinese accent, and to assure us all that now that he's here, he's going to be part of the community. Every sponsor and their dog had a presentation, a couple of DJs from some radio station that promises, from this moment on, "All Christmas Music All The Time." I have purposely forgotten their call letters and frequency because I am not one for all-anything all-the time, not even Elvis. Anyway, we consciously bought into my cynical reasoning for eing pulled downtown, and headed to the Rock Bottom Brewery (one of Stella's favorite grownup restaurants --we've often grabbed a bite there before the ballet) to warm up, and put some money into the downtown hospitality industry's coffers. The Christmas Spending Season is what it is, and it's not all bad: one night when I not only didn't have to cook, but I didn't have to clean up, and the kids ate everything on their plate. Let's see if that happens today!