Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July 4th in Waco

Beware, I'm about to ramble on and on about the fourth. Proceed at your own risk (of boredom)...

Matt and I had an absolutely awesome time in Waco over the weekend of the fourth! We hadn't seen Amanda and Karen since April 2013 when we went to Waco for Matt's GRE, so a visit was long, long overdue. It has also been years since we've seen the fireworks over the Brazos in Waco and I really wanted to do that this year, so off we went. It's only about 90 miles, so not a bad drive at all.

I spent Thursday night, after therapy and shopping, making food to take with us. I made my first ever potato salad and two batches of Oreo truffles--I made a batch of chocolate and a batch of lemon. On Friday morning I got up early and made a pasta salad and my mom's "cowboy beans" recipe. So, lots of food and it all came out so good. Even I was impressed with my potato salad, especially since it was my first and since I've not always been fond of potato salad.

On Friday afternoon we headed out for Waco. The drive is short and since Matt was tired for having just worked 11 days in a row, I did the driving. I love the drive across there, although at night during the summer it's kind of terrifying because of all the nocturnal animals that live in the pastures along that road (Highway 6 is not exactly a major highway). But, it wasn't a problem since it was the middle of the day and only really stupid dear run out in the road in the middle of the day (still happens... a lot).

Though Amanda was supposed to have to work until 5:30 (she does customer service for Amazon) she took part of the afternoon off to spend with us. So, we had a nice while to visit with her and Karen before their friend and her crew showed up. Every time I see them, no matter how long it's been, its like we just saw one another yesterday. We pick up where we left off, like we see one another every day, which is a rare kind of friendship. And every time I see them I'm reminded how much I miss not seeing them more. Though I see them not nearly often enough, I'm really going to miss them when we move.

At about nine o'clock, Matt and I headed out toward the suspension bridge. Though it isn't that far, the traffic and finding a spot mean even one hour was cutting it close. This is something I don't so much miss about spending the fourth in Waco. The traffic and crowds are unbelievable and it's gotten worse over the years. When Matt and I were first together, the crowds were pretty thick but the atmosphere was something like a really big family picnic. There were families everywhere, everyone seemed to be spreading out on the banks of the Brazos. Everyone respected one another. It was really nice.

This year, it wasn't really like that. This year, for the first time ever, I felt really unsafe. Which, if I'm being honest, sort of pisses me off. I've never, ever felt unsafe in Waco. But, there were teens everywhere, shouting and hollering, setting off fireworks in the crowd (about 20k people out there for this thing). The whole thing was a big old mess. People were pushing and running into one another, not paying attention to where they were going. Two big groups of teenage boys were screaming obscenities at one another and I thought they might fight right there.

Matt and I went out onto the bridge, which I think added to my safety issues. With that many people on the bridge, it sways. Not a little swaying, either, but a lot. It made me a little dizzy and, I think, it also made Matt feel bad. The fireworks weren't that great this year, so going all the way down in there wasn't really worth it. To say I left feeling underwhelmed, upset that I felt unsafe, and annoyed that we walked six blocks and that I risked an anxiety attack in the crowd for less than I expected, would be an understatement.

Afterward, we headed back to Amanda and Karen's place where we stayed the night after spending another chunk of the evening hanging out. In the morning they made us breakfast and we hung out until noon when we went to look at cars (story about that coming soon!) and then came home. All in all, really nice. Matt's only complaint was that, after 11 straight days of work, he didn't get enough time to relax over the three day weekend (relax is code word for sit around, at home, and do NOTHING). But, he got over it.

I think living in a small town has spoiled me a little bit. Our fireworks show in town draws a huge crowd, but no where near like the one in Waco. The people drawn to it are families, teens, couples, but it's comfortable and safe. Clearly, my definition of safety is changing, which makes me a little bit upset for two reasons. First, I'd love to move back to Waco some day. Second, if not Waco, then in another large(ish) city. Feeling unsafe in a town of more than 15,000 isn't really going to help with that.

Okay, so I'm going to stop rambling now. Lots of stuff to do around the house and I have to wait for FexEx (ugh, I hate FedEx!). I hope you had an awesome 4th, whatever you did!!