4th of July

Surviving this fourth of July was easy. All I had to do was keep several of my sons friends fed. Yes it was in the mid nineties while I hovered over a hot grill but it was nothing compared to the July of 2004.

In 2004 we spent July third drinking beer at Daytona during a very, very long rain delay.

It turns out if you drink beer constantly for six hours you get very drunk. It turns out that was just a preamble to the proceedings.

After a short rest in a cheap hotel charging a fortune, like they all do during a NASCAR race in Daytona or Bike Weeks, we went home on the fourth. Hung over we made the short trip. Lucky for us we lived in Florida at the time.

Then came the night of the fourth. All the players were there. Me of course, Dave and Brad – my two best friends and all of our families. You add a little Scotch, some wine and several beers and $2,000 worth of fireworks you get a wild time.

We ate, we drank, we swam in my pool, then it got dark.

We appointed Dave’s daughter’s boyfriend as official lighter of the fireworks for two reasons. He was sober and all three of us like our fingers attached to our hands.

It started out well. He lit the fuse dropped the mortar into the tube and a giant colorful burst was seen overhead. This seemed to need a little tweeking.

If you shoot the mortar straight up it’s difficult to see so lets angle the tube. This worked very well so lets angle it some more. This didn’t work so well.

Mortar was lit. Mortar was dropped down the tube. Tube tips over. Boyfriend picks up tube once – good job. Tips gain – everyone yells NO! – as he reaches for it again. He pulls back hand with five fingers and mortar fires.


Neighbors tree in flames.

Then next few minutes were a blur. Dave’s wife astutely grabbed neighbor’s garden hose and fought fire – I helped. Dave and Brad watched while sipping wine and Scotch. My wife and all the kids hid the evidence.

You have to understand this neighbor, in the under developed Florida real estate was our closest neighbor but about 50 yards away.

When the four of us returned from the fire fight – by the way one palm and one pine tree were casualties but we saved his new truck and his garage – the scene of the crime was pristine.

No lawn chairs, no empty beer cans, most importantly, no fireworks. Especially the illegal mortars.

I am not sure but I think the driveway was not only swept but Brad’s daughter’s under my wife’s supervision may have bleached it also.

If you ever need a crime scene cleaned I have just the people you need.

And we all survived.

So feeding a few young people in very hot weather was easy.

But there is always next year – I wonder what Brad and Dave are doing for the fourth?

J Pat

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