Every year in the early '90s, my parents would pile our family of seven into their white Toyota minivan to make the trek to the Fresno Fairgrounds to watch the annual fireworks show. Back then, the 20-minute drive to southeast Fresno seemed like such a long road trip.
While others watched the fireworks extravaganza from the inside, we — like many other families — chose to watch the show from outside, parked along the street. Sure, we missed the spectacle inside, but sitting on the hood of our car offered the best view of all.
The anticipation before the first candle shot into the hot night sky was exhilarating, and the high-pitched whistle was met by our ears long before it could be seen. As explosions of vibrant colors danced in the night, my siblings and I would watch in wonderment, each burst more amazing than the rest.
The fireworks spectacle has since discontinued and all of us kids are now grown, but to this day, those hot midsummer nights on the hood of the family car, underneath the magical sky, remain my favorite childhood memory.