Following a night of tremendous noise and sulfur fumes, I awoke to a sticky 76º. While sipping a mug of coffee, I noted that we were supposed to get rain by 2:00 in the afternoon. Better get that laundry done now, I thought. By 8:00, I had three loads of clean laundry ready to be hung on the line. (Yes, my ancient washer does the laundry in about 25 minutes!).
Stepping outside with the first basket, I immediately noticed the mess on the lawn. Large and small bits of fireworks were all over the front lawn, on the front stoop, along the side of the hill, and in our back yard. There were even pieces of fireworks on our roof!
My first inclination was one of annoyance and irritation. Every year our neighbors set off high-grade fireworks in their driveway that used to only be seen at the city’s fireworks. They delight the children in the neighborhood each year with their show. We, on the other hand, turn on fans, put on headphones, and sometimes retreat to the basement where the noise is somewhat muted.
While hanging up the laundry on my clothesline, I contemplated the situation. I could spend an hour walking around the house, collecting up the mess. Then I could present it to the neighbors with a sweet smile, saying, “Might this be yours?”
Then I started looking back over yesterday. We had driven to the next state over to visit with a family member who has terminal cancer, and will likely not be with us in a few months. Despite the sadness of the situation, we had a good visit – laughing, reminiscing, crying, and praying together. The visit reminded us that we will not always have the people we love with us, and to treasure the time we have now. I grew weepy thinking about this as I finished hanging the laundry.
I went back to thinking about the mess in the yard. Life is too short to get worked up about a mess in the yard, I decided. The neighbors were just have fun, enjoying their time as a family, trying to spread excitement to those around them. They are good neighbors, and why ruin a good relationship? So I picked up the large pieces lying about, and tossed them in the garbage. The small cardboard pieces I left for the rain to take care of this afternoon.