Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Fourth Folks!

First off, go to this site and check out this outrageous video. Makes you wonder what sort of country we have now. That blog, Gottagetdrunkfirst, is a new one set up by some of the guys I met last weekend in Kerville. They're great folks. Check 'em out.

Now, one of the fondest memories I have of being in Missouri in the early 1970s is of joining with my friend Mike Hinkley's family and celebrating the Fourth of July. His dad was a big guy, a former paratrooper in WW2, who knew how to have a good time. He would go out and get several grocery sacks full of bottle rockets, sparklers, black cats and lots of other stuff and we'd spend the summer evening of the Fourth firing it all off while the adults supervised, usually with a drink in their hand.

Neighborhood kids like me, Mikes' friends, would show up to join in the fun, and they never said anything about how we hadn't contributed to the cause. His dad built him a wooden ramp to launch the bottle rockets. We'd take turns lighting them with our punks, watching in wonder as they'd shoot up and explode in the night sky. We also used old coke bottles. We'd aim them out into the dirt lot at the end of the street so there was never much of a danger from fires. It was a wonderful time. It was at least a decade or so later that I found out that you could light and then toss bottle rockets at other people! That's a whole different kind of fun.

My own family was never into this sort of thing. I'd try to float the idea of going out and getting fireworks to the folks, but mom and dad would always prefer to be home, watching other people shoot fireworks on TV. Dad didn't want to spend the money and mom was always worried I'd get hurt. So I sought the more personal enjoyment of doing it myself with a different family down the road. Even at the risk of stepping on a hot sparkler in my bare feet, it was more fun than I could imagine at that time.

I was looking for something to post on this great day, and I found this fun little clip from "The Sand Lot". I think it captures something of the feelings we kids felt back then. Just replace the night baseball with bows and arrows, and that's me and my buddies, staring up in wonder as the night air filled with the bright colors and the magical smell of gunpowder.

I hope you guys have a wonderful Fourth, and a fun weekend. We're going to the parade in Belton early this morning. It'll be the first time I get to go when I'm not having to take care of dad, seeing to it that he has a chair to sit in and a drink. He always loved the parade there, and used to tell me about riding horses in it when he was a kid. One of my earliest memories is of watching the parade there from the side of the main street while sitting up on his shoulders. It's gonna be an emotional morning.

Later on we'll be going to a party at the home of some friends. We'll be eating hot dogs and fajitas, swimming in the pool and enjoying a few adult beverages. After that we may go up to the base and watch the annual fireworks display from the hospital parking lot near the campus.

It's always a great, beautiful display, but there's something wrong with having to sit by and watch someone else shoot off the rockets. Reminds me of those days when I was a kid. The safety nazis have just about taken all the fun out of this holiday, as they have everything else in our lives. I may have to risk arrest by firing a celebratory volley into the air, or firing off a few rockets. Call it non-violent civil disobedience. Well, not really NON-violent, but you get what I mean.

I'll be getting up early Saturday morning and heading up to Gatesville to do some legal celebratory shooting. I'll take that new toy of mine, and maybe my Garand, and blast away until the early afternoon. The heat will drive us from the field and back to town by about 2PM, where we'll find some good food to eat and drinks to slake our thirst.

Sunday may well be a good day to go check out one of the local rivers. Fishing and floating. We'll see. There's yard work that needs to be done, but it's a friggin' holiday dammit! Anyway, Monday, it's back to work, but only briefly. I gave my folks the night off so that Denise and I could zip up to Dallas, really Plano, and see Robert Plant and Alison Krauss in concert. It should be really cool. I've been lookin' forward to this ever since I saw them on CMT a while back. Of course, I'll take pictures and tell ya all about it.

You guys have a great time on this great day. Our founders would want us too, but they'd also want us to remember where our freedom comes from. Try to remember the folks who suffered so we can enjoy this freedom, and remember that the freedom we all inherited is a fragile thing. It needs to be nurtured. Think about that when you see the rockets go off tonight, even if it's only on TV.

Remember what they symbolize. "The rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air...".

Now, go have a wonderful time, and try not to end up on "COPS" with yer shirt off. Me too. Cheers.


Sarge Charlie said...

Have a great holiday my friend.

Mushy said...

Same to you too brother...have a ball or two!

I wanted to see that concert here but couldn't talk Ron into it...maybe next time...oh wait, there won't be a next time!

H2o said...

Happy holiday to you and Denise!

TexasFred said...

All the best on this 4th, to you and yours, and your readers too!

Claudia said...

Happy 4th 0f July, to all of you.
With all my heart from Canada.

Paul F. said...

Sounds like an epic weekend.

Kathy said...

I have stumbled your blog. Get ready you and Denise will have to keep up with the traffic. Hubby and I both like your blog, we live close by!

pat houseworth said...

4th weekend over, back to the grind!

~Fathairybastard~ said...

Pat - Not shit dude. Don't remind me. I mean, teachin' ain't ditch digin', but it has a grind all it's own.