The place was alive with children, bouncing in huge inflatable houses, playing a form of hockey in huge inflatable hockey fields, and playing miniature golf with plastic mallets on portable mini-golf holes set up in boxes. We strolled to Allen's one historic landmark, the old railroad dam which was built when Allen was founded by the railway.
A local orchestra and choir sang songs we didn't always recognize, but among them were patriotic tunes like the Olympic soundtrack music and "Deep in the Heart of Texas". Thankfully, they did not play "Dixie", although in my childhood this Confederate hymn of the War of the Great Misguided Racist Revolution (which is actually a pretty nice tune) would be played with patriotic fervour. They also did not play "This Land is Your Land" or "We Shall Overcome", which are patriotic songs I can sink my particular teeth into singing. I was sorry I only heard the bagpipes from afar. I wished a brass band had played "Stars and Stripes Forever" and made the shapes of sunflowers and marching Lone Stars on a field. The event was mercifully free of jingoism and misplaced rhetoric, if it was also free of anything that truly warmed my heart. I did like the passerby with the green hair, as well as the huge black labrador retriever glad handing the crowd. I was pleased by the diversity of the crowd, as I remember the times when Allen was something of a "white flight" area. Now it is just a "techie flight" area, and in techies there is no East or West, no shade or hue, no faith or frenzy. There's only tech.
We tired long before the fireworks, which is too bad, because I love fireworks. Then we came home, to tepid television. I played with simple webpage software, creating a little text webpage. I had not done that in years. As I was finishing, the far-off sound of the by-passed fireworks exploded, and I felt somehow a roman candle short of independence.