Ah, the Fourth of July, that magical time of the year when we celebrate our nation’s birth by eating too much charred meat and setting off large explosions! A day of family, friends, food, fun, and fulmination…
Our infant son’s first experience of Independence Day was spent with my wife’s family at their camp. It began, rather inauspiciously, with two days of torrential rain. This was less than ideal for much of the family, as the camp only sleeps about ten, leaving the remaining twenty or so family and friends in tents on the property (we, of course, had the camper, so we were snug and dry). There was also considerably less frolicking in the lake than most years, given the chance of instantaneous eradication via lightning bolt!
We huddled under canopies and umbrellas, willing the water to stop falling from the sky, while Dashiell’s response to all this was to nap liberally, between demands for sustenance. He got the football treatment, being passed continuously from family member to family member for hours, while Mommy and Daddy tried to act like they weren’t constantly concerned about his whereabouts and condition. All the hoping apparently worked, because the rain did, in fact, go away, just in time to barbecue dinner and start the festivities!
I should point out at this juncture that Sabrina’s family does the Fourth in a big way, and by big, I mean that the sheer tonnage of meat and explosives present at the camp each year would probably land someone in an EPA or Department of Fatherland Security rendition camp, if one of their drones happened to wander by overhead. Just the process of barbecuing takes four or five hours, and probably produces enough CO2 to be directly responsible for a fair chunk of the year’s global warming. The fireworks display goes on for literally hours, with everything from sparklers to multi-minute “cake” displays to three inch mortars that are visible for miles around. It’s a Big Freaking Deal!
This year was no different. Colossal mounds of meat (and beer) were consumed (yes, I know a ‘mound’ of beer is an odd thing to visualize, but the coolers were stacked, at one point). Vast quantities of pyrotechnics were ignited. The sky was so full of explosions that we could see the bats chasing their evening meals pretty much continuously. It was, as always, a glorious evening. Dashiell’s reaction was… to sleep. Literally. He slept through at least two hours of pyrotechnics so intense it reminded me of the nighttime news videos from Baghdad in the first Iraq war. He didn’t wake up, or so much as flinch, the entire time. Later on, when things quieted down, he woke up and filled the silence for us for a while until fed, almost as though he missed the racket. I think we may have a mutant on our hands, or at least a demolitions technician!
At any rate, since the rain had compressed the previous day’s festivities so much, there were lots of left-overs, so we all got yet another Monstrous Mound of Meat and another extended fireworks display. Yet again, Dashiell regarded all of this as the perfect excuse to take a long nap. I’m completely mind-boggled by this child.
In extreme counterpoint to the holiday’s start, on Sunday for the first time ever, we actually got to take down the camper while it *wasn’t* raining! It turns our it’s pretty darned easy, if you aren’t soaked to the skin and encrusted with mosquitoes! We had a small problem with our return trip, in that the keys to the car that was blocking us in had been lost, so it took several hours and a few broken tree branches more than we expected to get home, but we made it, unscathed, happy, and not too badly sunburned or bug-eaten, for once!
We’re still tracking down most of the pictures, but they’ll be in a post soon to come…