Wednesday, July 04, 2018

INDEPENDENCE DAY BLUES

It's the Fourth of July, a day when Americans celebrate their independence.

I won't be celebrating.  The truth is, I dread this day.

"... And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air ...."


That's what I dread.

All that noise, the flame and flare and confusion brings back memories when those bombs were real bombs, or hand grenades, or mortars, or the rat-tat-tag of machine guns.   Outgoing munition, and the guy who always belabors the obvious when he screams INCOMING!!!!


I've done a pretty good job of inuring myself to the sound of gunfire, as I've always been a competitive shooter and a hunter (although the first three years of deer season I had a hard time hitting a deer). 

It's that whole "Bombs Bursting In Air" thing that gets to me.

In Oregon, most fireworks are illegal.   That doesn't bother anybody ... they drive to Washington State and buy hundreds of dollars worth of Screamers and flares and things which make glittery shows of sparklers and smoke and fire.

One, back in the 1980's, I was installing new brakes on my van by the fading light of the sun when my neighbor across the street started exploding firecrackers and rockets and God only knows what all.  I tried to work through it, but the tension increased as my neighbor had a seemingly limitless number of *illegal* fireworks.

I became so agitated, I grabbed the handle of the jack and started across the street; I was mindlessly determined to beat him to a bloody pulp.

I marched down my driveway, and it wasn't until I actually started across the street that I realized I had not grabbed the jack handle, but the pneumatic jack itself.   I realized then the inanity of my reaction, and just went back into my house and had a drink or four.  Or ... lost count.

So now I have a new solution, which I'm trying out this year.  I don't think it will make a difference, but I posted a cardboard sign in my driveway:

"A VETERAN LIVES HERE.  PLEASE BE COURTEOUS WITH YOUR FIREWORKS."

It won't matter.   I'll still have trouble sleeping tonight, as the ruckus goes on from dusk to dawn.

But I have already pledged myself to expect to be upset, and not over-react to it.

I use to love Independence Day celebrations.   It was the sound of Liberty.

Now it's the sound of War.  After nearly 50 years, the ghosts still haunt me.

Just this one day a year.   And ... a few nights.

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