Monday, July 4, 2016

Day 2394 - Independance Day

My favorite Fourth of July memories took place in Alaska. I lived there when I was growing up and there was a magic about the place that could not be duplicated today. I remember that family and friends gathered together on the Fourth for a large picnic in an abandoned gravel pit that usually involved a fish fry with freshly caught salmon. Fireworks weren't regulated then and teenage boys like myself came to these parties armed with large paper bags filled with cherry bombs and M-80's.

It's a miracle that I still have both arms. We would place cherry bombs in the center of toilet paper rolls and throw them in the air to watch them explode. We made a makeshift cannon from a length of cast iron sewer pipe and fired shells made from aluminum cans filled with sand. The procedure involved putting the can in the tube, throwing a lit M-80 behind it, and then quickly blocking the end of the tube with a large rock. The sand filled cans could easily travel the length of a football field. I'm glad we never hit anybody because these were not harmless projectiles. Thinking back on these occasions, the amazing thing was that none of the parents in attendance did anything to stop us from this mayhem. Of course we were driven to these picnics in cars without seat belts and most of our parents smoked cigarettes. It was a different time and there was a naive innocence to the way we all lived. We were just kids having fun.

Things are much quieter now. I haven't bought fireworks in years and you couldn't pay me to go to a public fireworks show. We used to barbecue in the back yard on the Fourth, but eventually we realized that it wasn't much fun sharing your dinner with fire ants and mosquitoes. This evening, Janet picked up a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken along with some potato salad and baked beans. The older we get, the less we cook. I'm convinced that tonight's meal wouldn't have tasted any better if we cooked it ourselves. Sometimes the easy way is the best way.

Mother nature started her own fireworks show shortly after midnight. Less than an hour after we all went to sleep, a major thunderstorm rolled through town and woke everyone up again. Dot was scared, so I grabbed a blanket and slept on the floor with her for the rest of the night. Storms worry Dot even more than they used to, because she can't quickly run to her safe place under my desk. Things calmed down a bit when I blocked her view of the window. She can't hear the thunder very well anymore, and when she could no longer see the lightning, she eventually went back to sleep. I was a bit nervous sleeping next to Dot, since I thought she might poop on me. We got lucky though and made it through the rest of the night without any accidents. When the rain finally stopped around 9 AM it was twenty degrees cooler. With the cooler air and cloudy skies, we actually had a very pleasant walk this morning.

When I went to pick up the prescription I had forgotten about yesterday, I was disappointed to see that the price had gone up. This happens all too frequently. Healthcare is so expensive already that I hate to think what it's going to be like ten years from now. Truthfully, I hate to think what anything is going to be like ten years from now. We are not headed in the right direction.

Instead of watching fireworks this evening, I'm going to watch the Juno spacecraft being placed into orbit around Jupiter on NASA TV. Talk about pressure. It took five years for the spacecraft to reach Jupiter and if everything doesn't go perfectly about an hour from now, the entire mission will have been for nothing. I'm an unapologetic space geek. This little bit of engineering drama is actually exciting to me.

Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day