Distant Thunder

Do I want to watch the fireworks?

You know, it would have been our 50 year anniversary today, your Grandma and me — God rest her soul. We met on the fourth of July the year before and got married one year to the day after we met. She and three of her girlfriends were all at the town picnic together. Your Grandma though, she was the prettiest of the bunch.

First time I saw her I knew. I said right out loud, “I’m gonna marry that one.” Your uncle Billy was there. “Which one?” he asked me. “That one,” I nodded my head in their direction, “the one with the pony tail in the dress and cowboy boots.”

Billy just laughed because that’s how all of them was dressed. Later on I told your Grandma it was because since the second I saw her there weren’t no other women that I could see. I got a lot of mileage out of that over the years.

That’s ironic though, ain’t it? Getting hitched on Independence Day? Celebrating our country’s freedom and us getting tied down on the same day every year? We both got a lot of laughs out of that, except for that one year I played Folsom Prison Blues. She didn’t think that was too funny. I couldn’t listen to anything by the Man in Black for a few years after that without getting a sidelong glance from her. Not that I blame her. I was over the line with that.

Anyways, I remember that Fourth of July Picnic when we met like it was yesterday. Me and Billy followed them four girls around for an hour or better before I worked up the nerve to say anything. Turned out your Grandma liked the shy type. I’d like to tell you one of those other girls was your Aunt Sadie, but Billy didn’t meet her till a couple years later.

I don’t even remember who those other girls were. Billy might. I’m pretty sure he snuck off with one of them that night. Better not ask him when Sadie’s around though. Might not be a story for mixed company, if you know what I mean.

By the time the fireworks was going off your Grandma and me was watching from the bed of my pickup truck. I was leaning against the cab while she held my hand and rested her head on my shoulder. That truck had a bench seat — I don’t think they even make those anymore, do they? — and she sat close beside me while I drove her home. God, I miss that truck.

What did you ask me again? Oh yeah, the fireworks. Sure, I’ll watch them with you. I guarantee you though, ain’t no way they can compare to the fireworks I seen the first time I kissed your Grandma.

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