No Way to Celebrate

fireworks and dogsSaturday, July 4, 11:00 p.m., Danville, KY

The fiercest fighting at the Battle of Bunker Hill couldn’t have been rowdier than what I’m living through right now. Though the lovely, low-key Independence Day fireworks show sponsored by the city of Danville ended almost an hour ago, the unofficial celebration that started just after breakfast on a nearby street continues. Until dusk, it consisted mostly of firecrackers and bottle rockets. Then the ear-splitting music began. And I’m not talking about stirring renditions of “Yankee Doodle” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.” Ever since darkness fell, the noise has been constant and deafening.

I doubt they have dynamite or a real cannon, but it certainly sounds like it.

Two-year-old Eli and ten-month-old June are fast asleep in their cribs, in the inexplicable and enviable way that only the very young can be. The adults in the house, not so much. Daughter Leigh and husband Matt are upstairs in their bedroom with black-out curtains drawn tight and white-noise machine cranked all the way up, but I know from the muffled conversation and the footsteps above my head that they’re as wide awake as I am.

I must stick it out until the mayhem stops because Sophie, the cutest dog in the whole wide world, is here in Kentucky with me. It’s her first-ever Fourth of July in an urban setting and she’s a total basket case. Right before supper, she busted through the screen door on the back porch and escaped. Now she’s inside with me, whimpering and trembling. I wrap my arms tight around her. “Surely those idiots will run out of fireworks any minute now,” I whisper in her ear. “Do you suppose they have any earthly idea what they’re supposed to be celebrating?”

But my words bring no comfort. This dog who is seldom afraid of anything has become a quivering mass of jello.

Around midnight, the noise slacks off. Are the partiers partied out? I hurriedly snap on Sophie’s leash and take her outside to do her business. But before I can close the door behind us, a giant missile screeches skyward and explodes just over our heads. Sophie wails and bolts for the house. So much for a productive potty break.

Finally, at 2:00 in the morning, the assault ends. We climb upstairs to bed, only to be awakened by renewed celebrating soon after daybreak.

Sunday, July 5, 6:00 p.m., Cookeville, TN

We’re home at last and, my-oh-my, are we grateful. Sophie heads to the woods on the lookout for squirrels who have perhaps grown careless in her absence, while I unload the car. When I’m finished, I pour a tall glass of iced tea and settle down in the cool quiet of my back porch with the newspaper. I’m flipping through the sports section when the pop-pop-popping begins.

“No!!! This must be a nightmare!!! The Fourth of July is over!!!” My screams are drowned out by what surely must be dynamite and cannon fire. Though I can’t be certain, the racket seems to be coming from a neighbor’s house, out of sight but just over the hill. When a giant missile screeches skyward and explodes overhead, Sophie—tail tucked between her legs–comes running. She bounds onto the porch, whimpering and trembling, and I wrap my arms tight around her.

“Surely those idiots will run out of fireworks any minute now,” I whisper in her ear. “Do you suppose they have any earthly idea what they’re supposed to be celebrating?”

(July 12, 2015)

 

 

 

 

 

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