For a smallish town (about 15,000 people), they have a really fun 4th of July. People gather at Green Valley Park, where they have games, food, a playground, a lake, and tons of grassy space for kids to run around. They put on a really good fireworks show too. If you want to see fireworks in Arizona, you have to go to some sort of professional show, because all other fireworks are illegal here. They also have a live band that starts playing around 7pm.
This year, our friends Marc and Kati, and their daughters Lisa and Laurie, and Kati's nephew Marco came with us. Something different happened this year too. For the first time in the five years that we've gone to Payson, a lovely monsoon storm rolled in. And it rained. And rained. And rained. There was about an hour of really hard rain, and then it sprinkled on and off for the rest of the evening. They did get the fireworks show off though, and it was great. It was so wonderfully cool, I hated to come home. Next year, we'll be bringing a canopy though...either as sun or rain protection. Those things work both ways.
This was our day:
People are so nice and friendly in small towns. Kylie started playing badminton with people she didn't even know. They thought she was cute, and they didn't mind.
In the meantime, John Elway had brought a football, and was playing catch with Marc. Oh wait...that's Steve.
Shannon and her friend Lisa weren't expecting this picture. See that guy in the blue shirt to the right out there? That's Marc, he's the one with whom Steve was throwing the football.
Isn't this a pretty park?
When Shannon and Lisa realize their picture is being taken, suddenly they assume the MySpace poses.
This is Lisa, Danni, and Lisa's sister Laurie engaged in a mean game of Uno. See those ominous clouds behind them?
This is my lovely friend Kati and her nephew Marco. Marco is from Berlin, but he has spent the past school year in a foreign exchange program in Idaho. He has stopped to visit in Phoenix before heading home to Germany. He's a lot of fun, and after only one school year here, he speaks English like a pro!
Kati doesn't always make such silly faces. I think she was afraid I was peeking at her Uno cards. She says she reads my blog but just never comments. I guess after posting this picture of her, I'll find out if she really does read it. :)
They had a rock-climbing wall at the park, and Kylie wanted to try it.
The problem was, she's so light that she had a hard time keeping her body against the wall. Once her little hands let go of the hand grips, she swung away from the wall and wasn't able to get hold of anything to get herself going again.
Below, she froze when an extremely loud clap of thunder boomed behind her. Again, notice the ominous-looking clouds. It scared the boy next to her too...they both wanted to get off the wall very quickly!
And then the skies opened up, and the rain came down. We grabbed what we could and ran for the van. We got a couple of blankets and the pillows, shoes, cameras, etc. The chairs, coolers and another blanket unfortunately were left out in the rain.
When it became clear that we were going to be stuck in the van for a while, we ran out and got our chairs and coolers, which were by that time, soaked.
Shannon was quite wet after helping bring the stuff to the van, but as always, still fashionable, and still texting.
There wasn't much to do in the van while waiting out the rain, except break out the food. So that's what we did.
It rained pretty heavily for about an hour. After that, it was just drizzle on and off for the rest of the night. Unfortunately, the only person who had a change of clothes or a jacket/sweatshirt was Kylie. No one else had brought anything. We did have three umbrellas between our two families...ten people.
It wasn't really all that uncomfortable though. Most people who had stayed came back out of their cars and started socializing again. In a light drizzle, kids ran around and played, adults talked and laughed, and waited for the fireworks to start.
And around 9:15pm, they did start. For a small town, they put on a really nice fireworks show.
I had a really good time. Next year though, rain or shine, we're definitely bringing a canopy!