1. When I was 5 and watching a fireworks show at a local golf course . . . I was TERRIFIED. I remember crying throughout the entire show, no doubt ruining the experience for my parents, siblings, and anyone else within hearing distance.
2. When I was 12 and travelled to the Bay Area to compete in national-level tournaments I was . . . FREEZING. Think of it: I left Texas in July — meaning daily temperatures of 100 degrees plus. I had always been told that the west coast was sunny and warm. And then I arrived in northern California and learned first hand what Mark Twain said: “the coldest winter I ever had was a summer in San Francisco.” No wonder I played so badly!
3. When I was 24 and returned to Dallas for a brief family vacation I was . . . NOSTALGIC. In the summer of 1986, Julie and I flew from New Jersey for a couple of days in my hometown. While there, we went to a 4th of July Parade featuring Steve Kanaly, the actor who played Ray Krebs on Dallas. At that stage, I’d take any celebrity sighting I could get.
4. When I was 40, recently moved to Charlotte and celebrating the 4th by going to a nearby Charlotte Knights game with my family I was . . . CLAUSTROPHOBIC. The stands were packed, the game was minor league, the parking was a nightmare, the heat was oppressive, and the fireworks were underwhelming. Think that’s why we haven’t been back for a Fourth since?
5. When I’m 50 and acting juvenile by shooting fireworks off in the the driveway of some neighbor-friends, I’m . . . CONTENT. I don’t cry at fireworks anymore, I don’t have to battle traffic in the subdivision, and I’m in a city that’s very much home surrounded by family and friends I love. What could be better?