Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Day of Bombs Bursting in Air

and all that other patriotic crap. As far as holidays go, this one is by far the most dangerous. You think you might be safer staying home to avoid the drunks on the road, but think again. You have to stay home so you can be on guard for the buzzing backyard bottle rockets and other assorted stupidities.

Today's the day when I have to do my best to keep the dog and the cat calm as sudden explosions blast out from every side of this house and all along this residential block. I was out earlier with the dog and doing a bit of weeding in the garden. Suddenly an enormous whizz bang flew over my head. I looked up and over the fence at a grinning young man pleased as can be by what happens when one puts a flame to a small packet of chemicals.

There are other things to look out for on the 4th of July. Like drunken arsonists. I'll never forget one particular Independence Day. Rocking out on the back porch of our three story veggie commune, we noticed smoke billowing from the detached garage. A quick call the fire department and an even faster response got the fire out before a car with full tank of gas sitting in front of the garage could catch on fire. An hour or so after the fire crew finally departed after determining it was suspicious in nature, I just happened to peer out of the bathroom window and saw smoke billowing from the other side of the duplex. I ran down the stairs yelling to all to get the cats and to call the fire department again! I ran out the front door to bang on the neighbors' door. Inside was all ablaze, so I just yelled and then beat it back inside all the way up to my attic to grab -- not my purse with money inside -- but instead the few pieces of my artwork that I couldn't bear to lose.

By the time I got out the door the second time, the fire department had arrived and was in full engagement with the fire. It was arson, committed by someone with mental problems (aggravated by alcohol) with a grudge for someone he apparently knew living on the other side of the house. He had set the garage on fire and then came back to find the other side wide open, the occupants had left to go down town to the fireworks display.

Our side of the house was soaked with water and everything we owned was covered in toxic smoke residue with a smell I'll never forget. I managed to rescue quite a bit, especially art work and books, as well as journals and some other things that had been inside boxes when the fire began. All clothing and most of the costumes were beyond rescue. I hung on to an old clown suit that had been given to me by someone special. My roomies managed to get out both adult cats and two of the three kittens. The third one dashed away and into a smoke-filled room and couldn't be saved.

So every 4th of July, I'm at home with the hose hooked up and ready for action should any burning debris or arsonists decide to ignite my hovel here by Summit Lake. I asked my neighbor why he couldn't take his fireworks down to the side of the lake to shoot them off, away from other people's small children, pets and homes. He shrugged and said that was all he had and vanished back inside his house.

He lied, of course. He's been sneaking out to set them off all evening long. Meanwhile the cat is crawling up my shoulder and the dog is hiding under the computer desk. Is it over yet?

2 comments:

Terra said...

We should celebrate the 4th of July with a reading and reflection on the Constitution.

Village Green said...

I'd settle for a choral reading of the Bill of Rights!