Tim had a surprise scheduled for us on the 4th of July. The only thing we knew about it was that it would involve fireworks. We are all down with fireworks. The morning was spent packing up a feast of deliciousness to take to the outing. Tim even made more Tri-tip, so you know it was going to be amazing.
We ended up at Sonoma State University for their Independence Day Production. They have an amazing theater there, modeled after the Tanglewood setup in Massachusettes, where the Boston Symphony spends its summers. This area was amazing. The theater opened in the back so those outside could listen and participate. Here is a picture of the grounds. You can get tickets for a table, or you can choose lawn seating. I think the lawn is the better way to go anyway with a group our size. Tables would be too rigid.
Jeannie was actually very smart about the whole thing. She snagged us a table in the shade where we set up all our food and feasted.
But we also got an area out on the lawn where we would better be able to see the fireworks. It was a bit hot in the late afternoon, but we knew it was going to get chilly by the time the evening finished up and the trees by the table would be hard to see through.
We got there kind of early, which is a good idea. Look how the lawn filled in above us. So many people.
The theater didn't open until later in the evening. It was beautiful, all done in wood. We went for a peek because you couldn't see it from where we were sitting, although there was a large screen outside throughout the performance.
A Magician came up to our table right after we arrived. I thought he was kind of cheesy at first. His coin tricks were not bad, but a bit obvious, but he followed those with some card and rope tricks that were quite impressive. He was funny and got some good laughs. At one point, he handed Tim a rope and asked if it looked like a normal rope or if there was anything tricky about it. Tim answered, "As far as I can ascertain, it looks normal." The magician said, "Watch your language in front of the kids." I thought that was kind of clever, but it wasn't until later in the car that Ivory was telling Tyler (who missed the magician) about what happened. She said, "And Uncle Tim said a 'bad' word." That really made me laugh, and I had to explain what 'ascertain' meant. Kids...always good for a laugh.
The feast was better than I could have expected. Tyler and I missed the beginning since we went to the car to get a sharpie and had to wait in a huge line to get back in. But there was so much good stuff. The Tri-tip was heavenly. Every time I reached for something, I seemed to come up with Tri-tip as well. I think it was magnetic.
The show didn't start for an hour or so. We kept busy eating and then hanging out. Gotta love this cast. Check us out. (You may not recognize Alex. She is one of the people that works closely with Erin. She was really fun and it was nice that she could come hang out with us.)
I'm so sorry Robyn. How did I not end up with a picture of you by yourself? You look pretty good there behind Alex's hand.
We kept busy in many ways. June and Alex played cards until the light gave out on them. And they had some fantastic patriotic hair.
Since it was Sunday, everyone needed a heart. We managed to tattoo everyone in our group.
The performance was interesting to say the least. Jeannie was expecting that it was just the symphony, but there was also Steve Tyrell. I would categorize him as an upper class lounge singer. He sang all the oldies but goodies in his suave way. His cheesy mannerisms screamed Frank-Sinatra-wannabe. He wasn't actually that bad a singer, but his name dropping was over the top. All his stories included some famous person or venue. He seemed to go on forever. The symphony played solo for a bit which was excellent, but then they invited Steve back to the stage. Let's just say we were all ready for fireworks by the time it was dark.
I think they have different performances each year. This is the first time the Kelly's have gone and certainly the first time for us. And despite the gilded theatrics, it was nice to sit in the beautiful evening and listen to the music.
We did some faux face paint. Daisy had a flag staff that lost its flag, so she turned it into a 'brush'. And we "painted" faces. She gave me fireworks on my cheek and Jeannie a butterfly. I did a tiger on Robyn and a cow on Ethan. Some of my best faux work, if you ask me. I'm not sure what Daisy did for Ivory. I was too far away to ask.
The progression of the evening was amusing to watch. We all started sprawled out on the blankets here and there.
But as it got cooler, we started to huddle together for warmth. Notice that there is still some space between me and Jeannie here.
It wasn't long before we became a dogpile of warmth. Everyone was practically sitting on someone else to maintain heat. It wasn't always the most comfortable, but I'll tell you this...I wasn't cold all night.
We played Peeky, Fausty, Flatty, Cutty, Claw. We listened to music. We made fun of the singer. We chatted and tickled each other since it was impossible to resist in close quarters. And finally it was time for fireworks. The show was amazing! I have seen many firework displays, and this one started off like many others, but it was supremely awesome. I saw some fireworks at the end that I have never seen before. I would rate it amongst the best I have seen. (Neil Diamond...thanks for making that song Coming to America. I don't think it is really the fourth unless you hear that song.)
We don't really have a family tradition for the 4th of July. We seem to be in a different place every year, but this will be one of my most favorite memories. Everyone piled on each other, watching fireworks.
Thanks Tim and Jeannie. You sure create the best memories!