The Sounds of Silence . . .

We woke up this morning . . . to the sounds of silence. The Fourth of July is over and all is left is the scent of smoke, charred matches, burnt pieces of paper and dust which I hope blow away soon. For the last two weeks, we have been treated to preliminary testing of fire works every night and kept hoping these overzealous yet inconsiderate people would eventually lose interest or spend their last penny and sulk in the dark come the actual day of the Fourth. Unfortunately, no such luck.

Around six in the morning on July Fourth, the first round of ‘official’ fireworks made themselves known and continued sporadically throughout the day, just enough to keep every dog in the neighborhood aware and yowling.

Around seven, the real show began and given the carnival-like display of colorful explosions overhead, I think we were safe in assuming a lot of illegal fireworks were at hand. A look around the neighborhood showed a lot of children being kept far back from the curb while grown men got to light the fireworks . . . which is a good thing but after about 30 minutes of constant boom, boom, boom, I noticed children wandering off to play yet the dads and grandfathers just kept at it. A can of beer and hours of making things explode? A nearly idyllic evening. Someone did post on the internet something that probably described this aspect of the Fourth perfectly:

Children! Be careful around fireworks. Let the grownups in your life who have been drinking all afternoon set them off for you.

God Bless America!

It is so sad that for many the Fourth of July has been demoted to a day off, an excuse to spend lots of money shooting off fireworks (which began in our neighborhood two weeks ago!), a reason to drink, a time to denounce the ‘racist’ holiday and disrespect the president when so many people over the years have sacrificed and died to give all the people the right to sit in a coffee shop, sipping there fancy-pants lattes and complain.

In many respects we have turned into a very selfish world with all the ease and conveniences of living here. Yet, there was a poll mentioned on the radio that said so few people who live here and enjoy what they have are not proud of their country. Makes you wonder why they don’t pack up and moved to whatever wonderful paradise can rival America. Hey, I’d help them pack!

Naturally, I am not proud of some of the recent actions of various politicians who are using their office to further personal agendas rather than respect the voters who gave them the chance to respect them.

My son and I were able to follow the route of the Band of Brothers in Europe almost ten years ago and visit many of the battle sites and the beaches involved in D-Day. We saw pictures of the men involved and the troops. So many of the young men sent into battle were eighteen or over. One can’t help but compare those MEN to the same-aged young men of today who take up rocks and bricks to fight and try to destroy whatever doesn’t please them in their own country instead of standing up and knowing their history, being proud of how far we have come over the two hundred years plus and BECOME a man.

We do have our problems but America is still beautiful and could be more so if people respected the truth and stopped pushing personal agendas without thought for truth and character.

Celebrating the Third and Fourth of July!

Now, one has to understand before I begin my tirade that I am not against joyful occasions and celebrations. However, the fact that a home across the street from us decided to set off a multitude of fireworks (and, definitely not the type one buys legally!) from six in the evening until almost midnight kind of take the festive edge off of the Fourth of July for me . . .

Oh, wait, yesterday was not the Fourth of July yet this household celebrated it long and loud. Earlier in the day, I noticed they had a large panel truck in their driveway and two of the people were hefting out four, large totes from the truck . . . and, soon, after the explosions of ‘merriment’ started going off. I have a feeling that the contents of said totes just might have contained fireworks of a legal nature.

Every year, the fireworks get more intense and showers of colorful explosions burst forth over the roofs in our neighborhood, while the less ‘explosive’ neighbors hurriedly start wetting down their roofs, walls, and fences.

It is actually kind of sad how the picnic atmosphere and holiday barbecues are a side dish to the fireworks. We’ve walked about when the children were younger to watch the various goings on and there never seems to be much joy in the occupation. Children sit on the sidewalk, dads yell to stay back, and explosion after explosion goes off even while the next set of noisemakers are set out.

When I was around eight, we spent the day with friends on the Fourth of July. Fireworks were something we weren’t familiar with so we happily enjoyed a day of swimming and fun food not hurrying through in order to get to the fireworks. One of my favorite memories of the day was getting my deeply-hued aluminum cup filled with ice and soda that made the color of the cup seem brighter as the cold condensed on the outside. The ice clinking was an added bonus. In the evening, the grownups suddenly showed up with matches, sparklers, and some fun ensued. I remember we children being lined up on the lawn and each handed a funny wire stick and told to keep it away from our faces . . . so we did. Then one of the dads carefully lit each one and suddenly we were holding a cascading flood of delicate sparkles. One of the mothers poked some of the sparklers into a tree’s branches and we witnessed a tree in seldom-seen glory and wondered greatly at the wonders to be found in our small world. Just as the last sparkler gave out, some funny, black ‘pills’ were lined up in the porch light. Two parents carefully lit each one and they turned into a creeping, crawling caterpillar that quickly disappeared into dust. No loud explosions. No one got hurt or frightened and we ended the event with bowls of ice cream and chatter about what we had seen and done.

In any event, the neighbor’s early advancement into Fourth of July noise lasted up to midnight. Since we attend the 7:30 a.m. Mass and I get up at 4:45 a.m., finally getting enough quiet to fall asleep took the edge off the early morning awakening. We made it to Mass on time, didn’t fall asleep during the sermon and I thought ‘hopefully, the ‘worst’ of the Fourth of July was over early. Then the adamant hand shaker at the Sign of Peace turned around and was sporting an obama tee shirt. Last week, he wore a pro-life one. I guess nothing is over until it’s over!