Friday, July 4, 2008

The Third of July

The park has been a subdued place since last night's 3rd of July firework extravaganza when literally thousands of people laid claim to patches of grass and field, when vendors selling turkey legs and buttery ears of corn set up shop and the city of Littleton ignited what surely had to be one of the least spectacular firework displays I've ever been witness to (and I hail from southeast Idaho where for twenty years the highlight of the festivities was the fire that inevitably started on Red Hill above the university. I'm used to being underwhelmed!). People began gathering as early as noon for a show which lasted (literally!) fifteen minutes. The traffic on Bowles and Pierce was quite fierce afterward, which made my five minute walk back across the street all the more glorious. The best part of the evening was spending it with Melissa and Kona and our new friend Brady, who has a dog––a seventeen pound Chiuahuah named Diego––but prefers to let him stay with his mother. Duncan and Kona were quite well-behaved throughout the show, although neither would watch, sitting, instead, between us with their backs to the lights and colors exploding over the lake. It was a wonderful evening and the true show came shortly before midnight when the thunder, lightening and rain started. No one, least of all unincorporated Jefferson County, can match Mother Nature for a real show!

Even though there are plenty of families gathered to celebrate the 4th this evening, the park was rather quiet. The ice cream truck circled only once then departed and the thugs at the skate park had their music turned down and seemed to be working to keep their language in check. Not only that but practically none of them offered one of the myriad eight-year olds a cigarette or a beer, so things definitely seem to be on the up and up.

As we turned back toward home, cutting across the large triple soccer field, I noticed a family had gathered in the middle of the grass spreading out checkered blankets and a ring of folding lawn chairs. They'd lugged two large coolers all the way from the parking lot and had propped them open, ice and soda and buns and snacks practically spilling over the edges. The parents were working the hot dogs on the grill while the kids played badminton not too far away.

"Go ask him," the woman nudged her husband with her elbow as she prodded the roasting wienies with a fork. He looked over at me uncomfortably and shuffled forward, one of those guys who obviously doesn't like to ask for directions, not even when he's hopelessly lost.

"How you doing?" he asked. "Good lookin' dog," he said and patted Duncan on the head.

"What's up?"

"Yeah, listen..." he started, his feet shuffling awkwardly in the grass. "We're just wondering..."

"Go on!" his wife ordered as the kids ambled over to stand next to their father while they admired Dunc, who had his eye on the table laid out with food.

"Well, we're wondering, do you know where everyone is? What time does the show start tonight? The park seems to be awfully empty!"

It broke my heart, I tell you. It really did.


Greg said...

So sad. No doubt it was the whole lugging of said outdoor kitchen that caused them to be looking down and miss the show.

I bet Duncan wanted one-a them hotdogs.

Lori said...

I imagine there were fireworks here... I used to watch to catch some of the higher-reaching explosions from the fairgrounds as they appeared above the trees, but this year I was sacked out by dark. We made sure the windows were closed, the fans on, and we left the TV on a music channel so any neighborhood bottlerockets wouldn't get Brody all stirred up.

Marty said...

How sad for the family that arrived one date late for the fireworks. Hopefully, there were neighborhood communities that had fireworks on the 4th.

You incredibly lucky that Duncan ignores the fireworks. All 4 of ours interpret fireworks as "gunshots" and hide in the farthest back of the basement. Thes dogs have never been shot at yet they fear fireworks.

I personally love large firework celebrations sponsored by the city or county. I don't like all those bratty kids and their fathers who explode illegal ones in the neighborhood.


NodakJack said...

On the radio at which I work, we have a "Pet Patrol." Lost and found dogs and cats are listed. This morning FOUR "found" dogs were phoned in repeated several times. As with most days-after the Fourth of July, puppies were fleeing the fireworks. Luckily, as of 11am, two of the four had been returned to their rightful, but noisy, owners.

traci said...

A 17 pound chihuahua! Jiminy Crickets! How does the poor thing move?