The Territorial Dispatch
June 26, 1996
It's only just over a
week until the Fourth of July.
officially has just begun it's only just over a week until
the Fourth of July. Thinking back it seems like the Fourth
was always mid-summer and not really so close to the start
of it. But just last week we experienced the first day of
summer, aka the longest day of the year, and now the days
will be getting shorter.
I've spent the Fourth of
July in a lot of different places across the country...
starting out in Pennsylvania.
Fireworks were not as
readily available... or as controlled by law... in those
days, and they were not nearly as fancy schmancy. Drive-in
movies had big displays after the feature show and some
communities would treat their citizens to a patriotic picnic
by day and fireworks show at night.
Monaca, my hometown, is
on the Ohio River. We would go to the town's waterworks to
see fireworks and not only see those provided by our town
but enjoy the displays from the towns across the big
When we started spending
summers at Findley Lake, New York, some people would set off
their fireworks at lakeside and others would go out in their
boats and sit and watch the show along the shore. The
volunteer fire department usually had a fund raising "fair"
or "carnival" and would do fireworks after dark along the
I missed fireworks
activity in Laredo, Texas, the year No. 1 son was born on
July 1st and the following year in Wichita, Kansas, when No.
2 son arrived on July 5th.
By the time I got to
Topeka, fireworks were more available and families up and
down the street bought boxes full of them and we would all
sit out at night and watch each other celebrate. We did that
here in Yuba City also.
The second year we were
here we discovered the fireworks at Ellis Lake. It was
really great and we were so impressed we went on and on
about it to our friends who were stationed in Okinawa. When
we found out that they would be arriving back in the states
on the Fourth of July, the following year, we made
arrangements to pick them up at the San Francisco airport
around noon and they would attend the fireworks with
We built up the fireworks
at Ellis Lake so much that they could hardly wait to collect
their baggage and head up here to see them. After stopping
for dinner at the Nut Tree we headed for Yuba City and a
stop at home so they could change into cooler clothes and
walking shoes. We got to Marysville in the middle of the
traffic jam before the celebration but finally found a place
to park several blocks away.
Half running, half
walking we got to the lake in time for the first big booms
and flashes of fireworks. The sky lit up and the noise was
like thunder. It was glorious. It went on at that pace for
about five minutes and then all was dark and quiet. People
waited in hushed silence for the next volley... but it never
came. The word spread out among the crowd that a mishap had
occurred and the entire supply of fireworks had gone up in
the first five minutes.
The promised gigantic
display was over. Needless to say we've never heard the end
of it about the "absolutely wonderful fireworks celebration"
Another memorable part of
Fourth of July fireworks is what to do when you have pets
who don't appreciate the big booms.
A couple of years ago I
wrote this limerick about my big dog, Molly.
The FOURTH is a Holiday of noise
(A particular favorite of boys)
With a match from a pocket
They can set of a rocket
That, peace and tranquility, destroys
My dog is half Lab and half Saint
A retriever for hunters... she ain't
At a firework's first clap
She heads for my lap
And trembles until she can faint
Fireworks are a symbol of Freedom
(The explosives are there... if we need 'em)
But aggressions collapse
With big dogs in our laps
If we all stay home just to feed 'em!
Quote of the Week: I
pledge allegiance to my flag and to the republic for which
it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice
Youth's Companion Magazine