Most of the day was business as usual. Going to work at OSU with a little time out to take a Swahili class. I had been paged out of class the day before so I was a little nervous about the quiz. We were going over addresses and cardinal directions. I had missed the introduction of the directions the day before, and was hurrying trying to find a way to remember them easily. North and East would be no problem. I am a brewer, and North and East have names that relate to brewing. North is 'kaskazini', and East is 'Masheriki'. All I could remember about West was it started with an 'M' had the French 'R' sound that in Swahili is written 'gh', and ended in ibi. Hopefully that would be enough to get credit. I remember South starting with an 'S' and ending in 'ini', but that is it, and I feel that was not enough. Work was uneventful the rest of the day, but at least my professor is giving us an extra day off after the Fourth of July holiday. My wife picked me up early from work, and we tried to make it through downtown Columbus traffic to my father's house in German Village. From there we could walk to the fireworks.

Red, White, and Boom is advertised as the largest fireworks display in the Midwest, and this year, it drew a crowd of about 500,000. The rain earlier in the day held many away or else there would have been many more. We waited for my friends Ben and Betty to arrive, and then headed out on foot. It is probably about a mile and a half walk from my father's house to Bicentennial Park on the banks of the Scioto river. We made it with our backpacks, picnic baskets and lawn chairs in tow. Six o'clock; only four hours more to wait. My wife had brought fruit; far too healthy for my tastes. I went to the street merchants for a gyro and french-fries.

After we had eaten, I broke out my paints. Jeannette wanted purple fireworks on one of her cheeks, but I didn't want to mix colors, so she got red and blue ones instead. Lee-anne not having seen me paint Jeannette's face asked Jeannette where she got that. When Jeannette told her I had done it, she said, "With what?!?" I was really happy with that design, and ended up repeating it four times that night; once more on my stepmother, and twice again on two little kids who were watching fascinatedly as I was painting others. I painted an American flag waving in the wind with fireworks behind it on Ben's arm, and a white star on a red and blue field on Betty's. By this time it was getting dark, and the fireworks were about to begin. I put away my paints, and prepared my camera.

I only had a few exposures left on my only roll of film, so I spent them all at the beginning. Plus this way, I would get less of the smoke giving its hazy glow to my photos. I spent the rest of the 25 minute display realizing what I should have taken pictures of. That being a picture of a little kid gazing up toward the sky with her mouth hanging open, and the six story American flag raised up the side of the Columbia Gas building, and the reflections of fireworks that surrounded it in the windows.

With the final Boom, 500,000 people took off on the 5k race to return home. All with different finish lines. We made it back to my father's house only having lost one person. Woody later called to let us know that he had made it to his home all right despite us abandoning him. I criticized him for storming off ahead of everyone and then having the gall to accuse us of abandonment. Everyone else knew how to stay together. My wife and I waited about an hour for the traffic to die down, and then headed home ourselves. Traffic was still a nightmare, and being directed by cops. I really think that the lights would have managed traffic better right then. It took us about 45 minutes to travel the seven miles to home, but then off to bed to rest and endure the following day's Independence day celebrations.