July 2012 – This was our first summer in several years that we did not make big travel plans to visit people around the U.S. In spite of lighter summer hours, Stephen was still pretty busy with his job and I was still struggling through nausea and fatigue from my present state of being. However, we wanted to do something special to celebrate the 4th of July. We did hear that there was a fireworks event here in Lake Jackson, but that seemed a little tame after some of the fireworks events that we’ve attended in the past.
After some research, I discovered that Galveston put together a pretty good show on their beach front that included a parade and a fireworks show over the ocean in the same evening (http://www.galveston.com/cvb060812/). Galveston is only an hour away from Lake Jackson. So, we piled the kids, a picnic dinner and a sense of adventure into our van and made our way over to the seaside of Galveston.
We arrive mid-afternoon while there was still some parking available along the parade route. Several streets were already being roped off, but Stephen squeezed our mini-van through and managed to find a parking spot on the very edge of a parking lot facing the ocean. For the first time, we used the “tail gating” option on the back seat of our Chrysler Town and Country Minivan. We spread out blankets and got ready to enjoy the evening.
We were trying to decide if we should put on our bathing suits and take a quick swim in the ocean when Jared and Luke informed us that they needed to go to the bathroom. So, I left Grace with Stephen and walked down the block to the nearest gas station to use the bathroom. Of course, there was a long line of people also trying to use the restroom. So, it took us a while to get through the line.
As we waited, I grabbed a free copy of a car sales magazine. Jared and Luke became immediately fascinated with the vehicles they saw displayed. I told Jared that the magazine was free, so he could keep it. Ever since then, Jared will skim through that same magazine and dream about the car that he wants to own when he grows up. (This changes usually every few days.)
By the time we finally got back to the car with bladders relieved, stomachs were beginning to speak. So, we started getting dinner ready. Hotdogs were distributed, baby food was prepared for Grace and we munched on our dinner as the parade participants prepared themselves for the show.
The weather was pleasant. There was a breeze making the summer temperatures feel cooler than normal. The sun was setting behind us, and the sky was nearly cloudless. The ocean’s waves were mild, and the hum of vehicle and human traffic filled the air around us.
Right on schedule, the police cars that led the parade began to make their way down our street. Lights were flashing and people scrambled to the sidewalks to find a good spot to catch any surprise gifts that might be given to them from the floats that were soon to arrive.
For the next hour, the boys waved their American flags and chased down candy, colorful beaded necklaces, fliers and stickers that were tossed in their direction. Grace was especially fascinated with the beads. I think she ended up with about 10 strands around her neck by the time the parade was over.
Once the parade was over, there was a lull as we waited for the sky to darken enough to begin the fireworks. During that time, the kids played with their new treasures, relieved bladders once again, brushed their teeth and got their pajamas on. (We were expecting them to fall asleep on the way home.)
At about 9:15pm, when the sky was just beginning to darken completely, the fireworks show began. Music played in the background as kids watched in fascination at the bright colors lighting up the sky. We were far enough away from the explosions as to not scare Grace. So, even she was enjoying the show. The show lasted over 20 minutes, and we were all happy with the display.
We hit some traffic on the way home, and it was hard for the hyped up kiddos to finally close their eyes. However, by the time we got home around 11pm, they were all fast asleep. The parade and fireworks in Galveston is definitely something we will look forward to attending in the future, if we decide to spend our summer here in Lake Jackson again.