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How To Be Festive (aka "Set Something on Fire")




After last year’s incredible Black Friday experience, I of course had to return this year. Two years straight I have not had to fist fight anyone. Slightly disappointing, but probably for the best.

It’s been a great holiday weekend, and all this celebrating has got me thinking about firecrackers. Yep. Because it seem like every good party in Guatemala involves a show-stopping, heart-damaging round of fireworks.

One of my favorite stories from Billy’s childhood involves these very explosives. He tells it that he was three years old, but I cannot believe a toddler was wielding firecrackers, so I’m going to change it to eight. Much better… an eight year old wielding firecrackers.

It’s tradition in Guatemala, on the morning of someone’s birthday, to awaken them in the awesomely terrifying manner of setting off fireworks outside their bedroom window. Naturally, young Billy wanted to give this raucous gift to his father on the anniversary of his birth.

One small problem, though. Instead of igniting the party outside his father’s window… he instead opened his parents’ bedroom door, tossed the cracking, popping, exploding presents into their room and slammed shut the door.

Happy Birthday!

No one was hurt… or I promise I wouldn’t find this story so funny. But the bedspread was burned and the story will follow Billy to his grave.

While in Guatemala last month, it happened to be Billy’s father’s birthday again. So adult Billy set out to redeem himself. We agreed there’d be no early morning show since Ella would still be sleeping.

Sure enough, minutes after Ella woke up, Billy was whispering to me, gesturing, and generally confusing me because I had not been thinking about firecrackers all morning and had promptly forgotten what he was doing. It didn’t matter, though, because he soon returned from his clandestine errand, informing me that his master plan was a dud. He couldn’t get them lit.

Never fear, though. He would not be thwarted. Without warning, he soon unleashed an audio avalanche of firepower. Unfortunately for Ella, she was on her back having her diaper changed… not exactly where you want to be when Armageddon begins.

But we survived and the celebration was all the merrier.

I hope your holiday weekend has been festive, exhilarating, and mildly terrifying. I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to. What are your traditions? Any Black Friday drama?  

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4 comments

  1. The height of my black Friday drama happened at Pier One. Every year my mom and I head out to shop around 1 or so, about the time the crowds start to thin out. We start at Pier One where I have purchased their special edition Peace Dove ornament every year for the past 10 years. This year was year 11. However, when we got there and I saw the ornament I hated it. It was hideous. I didn't know what to do. Buy an ugly ornament or break tradition and get the angel ornament? This year my collection of peace dove ornaments will be supervised by a very pretty angel.

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    1. That is quite a quandary! I bet you are glad you hadn't run over thirty or so people only to discover the ornament wasn't worth it. :) Good solution, though. A streak of 10 leaves wiggle room for the year of the pretty angel! :)

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  2. Andres4:41 AM

    Ha. Armageddon is exactly what I think when I get woken up by a metrallodora at 6am in Guate.

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    1. LOL. I can't imagine if anyone ever did that to me. I would probably "overreact." Although, the one month I lived in Xela I felt like someone in the city was having a birthday every day. Good morning!

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