4th of July & Other Stuff

Yesterday was the 4th of July, the day when everyone in our town gathers on the streets near our house to ignite all the fireworks they’ve accumulated since they became available in mid-June. There is speculation that some folks fire off rockets left over from last year but I’m pretty sure that isn’t true because the noise begins on July 1st with a few sticks of dynamite being ignited sporadically every few hours. The tempo increases each day until the 4th when it seems to become a competition to see who can make the most noise until everyone runs out of ammo.

Prior to enjoying the neighbors noise, Diane and I went downtown for a flag raising ceremony at the old court house. That’s done at 1:30 pm, prior to the bell ringing at 2:00 pm. The American Legion Post 42 in St. Helens, to which I belong, provides the manpower to ring the bells all over town at facilities that have bells to ring. They are in churches, and the fire department mainly, in addition to the bell near the public docks in front of the old court house. That one is from the old Warrior Rock lighthouse up the river a ways from St. Helens. The bell was moved and was replaced by a new one at some point in the past.

That’s the bell I’ve been ringing for a number of years but Roger has taken over that job because I was a bit late one year. So I just go along to help Roger count to 13. That’s what we do with the ringing – 13 times starting at 2:00 pm, one strike for each of the original colonies.

This is Roger and me.

Me and Roger

I know. We look the same except he trims his beard, I don’t.

For reference, this one is of my Bride and me. Diane doesn’t have a beard.

Technically, anything that attains a lofty altitude, then explodes, is illegal in Oregon, but those devises are readily available in Washington which is just a hop and a skip away over the river. So, anyone willing to spend a small fortune on things that go boom, loads up and returns home to share with their neighbors, whether or not the neighbors wish to participate. Even though they are illegal, the police aren’t prone to pursue those who break that law. Nope. They just turn a blind eye and let everyone fire at will.

As a result, the sky around our house is filled with rockets firing every which way and the exploded debris drifts all around us with the smell of cordite lingering in the air. It makes for a pleasant evening, for sure. The dogs love it, of course. We let Ziva on the porch so she can bark her happiness non-stop during the entire display. I let her bark as much as she likes with the hope that someone will complain about the noise, but I don’t see that happening.

This year, with the pandemic rules still being enforced, most large fireworks displays were cancelled which saved the towns tons of money. I think that after seeing what happens when things are locked down, they will never sponsor another expensive display again. There were fireworks being fired off all over town, and all across the visible horizons, 20-30 miles away. Diane mentioned that if everyone who had fireworks would have taken them down to the river, where the big show usually takes place, the display would have been better than what usually goes up in the air and it would have lasted longer, too.

Today Ziva was none the worse for wear but we were concerned because she’s pretty old for a big dog. Fourteen, I think, and her joints are starting to fail on her. That’s a sad story for another day …

Later in the day, on Sunday, we made a trip to the country to visit some long lost relatives. We see these guys once every 10 years or so which is understandable because they live about 30 miles away. Considering how much we all drive during the course of a year you’d think we’d connect more often, right? Well, Debra, my cousin, and matron of all those we visited, declared that we’re going to do this more often in the future. As a matter of fact, we’ve already set a date.

The fact that Debra’s daughter, Alicia, and her family, Adam, Ivy, Autumn, Cora, and their dog Gemma, have recently become residents of St. Helens may have something to do with her sudden desire to make this visiting thing a regular event.

Adam, you may remember, was recently hired as the Youth Pastor for Daniel and Jennifer’s church. It’s also Cedric’s, Lydia’s, and Jeran’s church. Getting that job closed a very serendipitous loop of events bringing all of our families closer together. Now that they live closer to us, Lydia doesn’t have to drive so far to get her ‘Cousin Fix’ with the girls. That’s handy.

Here’s who was there – First there was the baby, Ava, who the new Mom, Nicole, rarely saw during our visit.

Then, there were all of the little one’s parents, siblings, cousins, uncles, and aunts, for a final total of 33 people.

During this event we helped celebrate two birthdays. Once for Lizzy, and once for Jada who is soon to be 11. Lizzy got the lemon drop cake that Jennifer made. Jada got the oreo cake.

That’s it for now as I must depart for a visit to Hillsboro to see my VA doctor so she can tell me how great I’m doing.

Hope everyone had a fun and safe 4th.

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