Saturday, July 5, 2008

On Why I don’t Do the Fourth:

In the year that Shining Son died, the fourth was on a Sunday. I got up early because I was doing a morning reenactment at the Battle of Wyoming Monument in the town of Wyoming PA. (Being the original Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania. Not the state. Which came later from some people that moved from said Wyoming the town to the other.) (Princess Daughter was working as a counselor at a sleep away camp so wasn‘t home.) But I digress.

I called Shining Son to let him know I needed him outside and ready when I came to pick him up. There was no answer. (He had stayed out late with some friends and slept at their place.) I left late and got to the monument without him. Almost ten years ago not everyone had cell phones like they do now. We had missed each others calls.

I phoned him again when I got home. (His place was in the other direction and I had to get the car back to Mountain Man.) Shining Son was at his apartment and apologized for just missing my ride. (He didn’t have a car living in the city. It was only inconvenient on Holidays when the buses weren’t running.) I couldn’t get him because Mountain Man had our car. Shining Son was without a ride. His few friends with cars had gone camping for the weekend.

We each spent the day alone playing solitaire and talking to each other on the phone. Silence. “Well I didn’t win that one. Not even close.” Shuffle noises. Silence. “I didn’t win mine either. More shuffle noises. “I wish I could find a red nine.”

It went like that for hours while I waited for Mountain Man to get back so I could pick up Shining Son to have our small family cookout. It got later and you know I can’t remember what had kept Mountain Man now. But Shining Son and I finally gave up waiting for Mountain Man. Shining Son met up with his friends later at the fireworks.

On Monday Shining Son had to work late so he couldn’t come for dinner. And on Tuesday it was sooo hot. He and some of his friends decided to go swimming after work. He never made it home.

I spend the Fourth of July each year feeling guilty for not trying harder to see my boy that day. Or at least not having a better conversation with him while we had the chance on the phone. I know I shouldn’t, but I do. The fun is all gone from that day for me. So I stay out of the way and try not to rain on others festivities. The rest of the time try not to let opportunities slip away again.

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