Port Saint Lucie had a marina, pool and a rec hall with one ping pong table. The facilities were one of the selling points guaranteed in the sales contracts, issued by the General Development Corporation. It was the center of our universe and we homed in on it, every morning, every summer day.
This day, we would all be there early to watch the Kiwanis and Jaycee's set up the festivities. The burgers and dogs would be on the grill. A local band would be warming up on the shuffle board courts, with "Smoke On The Water" and "Sunshine Of Your Love". Somewhere around noon, the parade would start at the ball park, and end in this most glorious location of my childhood. The possibilities were endless, music, games, swimming, food, and the hopes of getting a girl to like us, all hung in the air.
The central obsession was our bicycles. I was a master of the wheelie, and in those days you could ride your bike in the parade, and not be chased off by officials. We decorated our Sting Ray knock offs with cray paper in the spokes, and flags on the sissy bars. We all wore red, white, and blue in honor of the holiday, and dreamed of winning an award for the best decorated bike. Prima Vista Boulevard was lined with friends and neighbors and the glory of being center stage was fantastic. We would take turns riding wheelies up one side of the street, and back the other, weaving in and out of the floats, muscle cars and marching bands. We rode next to Miss Sandy Shoes in a red Corvette. We road next to the Ft. Pierce Marching Cobras. We rode next to my friend Kevin Hand's band, as they played Jumpin Jack Flash, over and over, his blue sparkle drum set, and drumming skills the envy of us all.
The day would go on forever, and then at night the fireworks would be lit by the Optimist club, with a rag, wrapped on the end of wooden stick, soaked in kerosene. We would stay at the marina long after everyone else had gone. Full of candy, completely out of Black Cats, M-80's and bottle rockets, we tried to stretch every second of the day, we hated to see end. Cruising home sunburnt and shirtless, with the decorations tattered and dragging beneath our wheels, we were serenaded by the frogs and crickets. In fitfull sleep we would twitch and kick, rewinding and reliving all the adventures we had that day.
Happy Fourth Of July.