Looking for heights

A Night Among Fireworks

Heights are awesome

You know how people are afraid of heights? I have sort of the opposite – I love them. I seek heights out. I do so every time I am in a new place. Some awesome things I have climbed to the top of include:

The Duomo in Florence

Skinny high school days, 120 lbs ago. Back when people wore watches.


The Eiffel Tower

eiffel tower
I was angry cause I heard the top level was closed, then found out it was a different line.

St. Paul’s Cathedral in London

St. Paul's Cathedral
14 years ago. No Tardis sightings.


The top of this mountain near Lucerne

I totally pulled a Julie Andrews on the top of this frickin mountain.

The edge of this cliff in Norway

Edge of Preikestolen. 600 meters straight down to fjord.

The top of this ski jump in Oslo.

ski jumps are nuts
Crazy ski jump

North Shore Minnesota

Superior in the far background

You know those people that are afraid of heights? Becky is one of em. This makes for some interesting times. Like at the Lutsen resort on the North Shore, when she wanted to pay me back for all the things I’d done for her when she was working 15 hour days and I was doing all the household stuff. She rode to the top of a dang “mountain” in a gondola for me. This is her as we start back down. She didn’t know my camera could video tape.

On our honeymoon, she went up to the top of 30 rock with me. At night, no less! And when I say she’s afraid of heights, I mean it. She later told me that she pretty much threw up as soon as we got back down to the ground.

Top of the rock
Becky at the top of the rock

Fireworks are awesome

Who doesn’t like fireworks? Lots of people I guess. Every year Becky and I make sure to catch as many shows as we can, and we often seem to get stuck by some young 20 something hipsters who are ironically at the fireworks show. It’s annoying.

When we lived in Fargo, we always tried to go to RedHawks games that included fireworks at the end. It was during one such fireworks show after a ball game that I first told Becky I loved her. Sinatra  was singing “Fly me to the Moon.” I was hugging her from behind and whispered it in her ear. She melted.

Even when we couldn’t afford the game, we’d drive to the NDSU campus and find a nearby parking lot to watch the fireworks.

Fireworks are just frickin magic. In Plymouth, we live very close to the city center, so all we need to do is bring out some lawn chairs to the front of the apartment and grab a spot of grassy knoll.

Two years ago, we went to the Aquatennial fireworks. It was 90 some degrees. We hadn’t done it before, and the parking lot I was shooting for was full, so we had to do another lot with a pay machine that had a line of people a half-hour long to pay. I somehow managed to pee myself in a bathroom. And the only vantage point we could find was in a place where we could only see the high fireworks. It was a pretty miserable night.

Fireworks + Heights = Miracles Do Happen!

This year, we splurged. As members of the MN historical society, we get emails that I ignore. Becky reads them, and found out that it’s possible to get tickets to watch the fireworks from the top of Mill City Museum on their observation deck. It was $35 a seat.  We found parking in a lot 5 blocks away for 10 bucks. All in all, the fireworks show cost us about $4 a minute, which may be about the most we’ve spent on entertainment ever in that respect, but it was SOOOOO worth it. The Aquatennial fireworks show is the sixth largest show in the country.

mill city fireworks

For one, you don’t have to deal with overhearing snarky comments about fireworks being “so cool or whatever” from hipsters. People who were there were there because they also loved fireworks. It was also limited seating, unlike the thousands who were trying to get the best seats on the Stone Arch Bridge.

Mill City

I had to drag Becky out of bed to go at all, since she was on her first day of a multi-day illness. The tickets were non-refundable and she didn’t want to waste them by letting the sickness win. She was a friggin trooper.

Off in the distance, we could see thunderheads moving away from us while they lit up the night sky, like a pre-fireworks entertainment.

Becky handled the heights pretty well, I must say.  We were 14 stories up from the river and overlooking the ruins of the mill. The show was spectacular – lots of both low, mid and high level fireworks filled the sky as they were fired from the third avenue bridge. From our vantage point we could see all of them and how they worked together.

3rd ave. bridge

Knowing how silly fireworks look on cell phone videos, I restrained myself pretty well I think. Not many people did up there however. Lots of phones were out to video something we’ve all seen in real life and know just sort of suck if seen on a small screen. To each their own I guess. Maybe watching them sideways will make it more interesting?

Fireworks and heights will always be a big part of our lives. Maybe because they are so tied to celebration and achievement, and we always need a bit more of both.


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