By posting this, I hope that, thanks to the magic of the Internet, the person responsible for last night’s fireworks display at the Ballard Community Center ball field will be to see the following message:
THANK YOU, MYSTERY FIREWORKS JESUS!
Ever since the Eyre-Porter household up and went vacationing in California, the Seattle family has been wondering what we were supposed to do for the 4th of July. Last year was great, but Josh and Chris were in town for the rib-off and drunken amble across Eastlake to see the Lake Union fireworks display. I mean, we could have gone over there again, but it’s weird when your friends are gone and plus the drive back home is just murder (an hour to get from Eastlake to Fremont when you have to pee the whole time?!?!).
So this year, Graham and I decided to have our first mini-BBQ, both to welcome people to the new place and to celebrate the 4th of July. We apologized that there would be no fireworks, but there would at least be food and possibly a drunken game of ping pong on the permanent outdoor tables at the community center next door.
And there was food. If any St. Louis natives-turned-expats are reading this, you should know that while I am normally terrible at giving advice re: homesickness or relationships, I can at least tell you this much: find someone who can grill pork steaks. Even if this is their only culinary talent (and Graham has many culinary talents, just so you know), find someone who can grill the shit out of a pork steak and, as a bonus, make a kickass homemade barbecue sauce because every perfectly charred bite will be like sweating your ass off on a patio back home, cicadas droning in your ears and a longneck Budweiser dripping condensation onto the picnic table at your elbows. But, you know, in a good way.
So. Graham grilled the pork steaks with the homemade barbecue sauce, and I assembled the finished parts of my menu/prep list below, and Luke, Courtney, and Mike shared it with us and then we decided to get in some ping pong before it got too dark to play.
We figured there would be a few people setting off fireworks at the ball field next to the ping pong tables. Maybe a few roman candles and bottle rockets. What we did not figure was the man we began to refer to as the President of Ballard, who, with no community backing or sanction that we could ascertain, dropped what must have been a couple grand on a fireworks display that he set up and detonated at the far end of the ball field and it. was. SPECTACULAR.
It was a terrific surprise and a wonderful display that this person seems to have paid for with their own money and for no reason other than making people happy (plus possibly his own pyromania but still). As Mike said, it was comparable to any city display with “most of the boom with none of the traffic,” and I could not have been more pleased to be able to call this very generous firebug my neighbor.
Apparently there are a few community threads started by major grumps who want to know why the cops didn’t show up and put a stop to it, but I made sure to contribute to a different thread thanking this person for their efforts.
As I noted in my comment, my favorite part was looking out across the ball field and seeing this person’s silhouette (well, I assume it was this person, although it could have been the random bystander who exclaimed “YEAAAAHHHH” at every explosion because you could tell he loved America most of all) against the glowing smoke, arms stretched upwards in celebration, as if he was a fireworks wizard who was exulting at his incredible ability to make things go boom.
That was my favorite part of a really incredible display, and whether we call him the President of Ballard or Mystery Fireworks Jesus, I hope he can start saving for next year (or that I can meet him and kick in $50) soon.
Mystery Fireworks Jesus (the nickname was an instant classic!) is pretty much exactly the guy you describe. He does the display on his own dime and for the sheer pyro/patriotic joy of it. Hes a blast (pun intended) to be around and always makes a good time better. There was a tshirt made for him with the new title on it. So maybe you’ll see him out and about in Ballard. Your comments have made him quite happy. Thanks for giving such an amazing shout out to an amazing dude!