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Front Page » July 5, 2011 » Opinion » Rantings and Ravings
Published 1,122 days ago

Rantings and Ravings


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By TERRY WILLIS
Sun Advocate reporter

Well we have just survived the Fourth of July weekend. Summer is halfway over and it feels like it really just started. The weather felt very spring like long into the normal summer period.

The Fourth of July weekend was always one I looked forward to as a kid growing up in Iowa. Iowa had pretty strict fireworks laws like Utah, but we were right across the river from Illinois and just up the road from Missouri and they were far more lax so there was a lot of "good" ones brought in just like now.

Of course we also had a big ordnance facility at the edge of town and the state laws did not apply there so people living on the plant grounds could also have big ones. The big official display was done at the fairgrounds and could be seen all over town. If you had the right vantage spot you could see displays for hundreds of miles over in Illinois too. It was pretty flat there and my town was up on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi river.

I recall it always being hot and muggy on the Fourth. We very often headed over to the ammunition's plant to have a picnic with family friends. Softball games, swimming and biking before a grand feast of hamburgers, hotdogs, German potato salad, chips and cool-aid were the order of the day. I was a kid and life was relatively easy.

I never quite understood why by 10 a.m. on the Fourth that my mom was grouchy and snapping at all of us. We were giddy with excitement and ready to load up and get to our friend's place. We had our ball gloves, swim suits and towels in the back of the Rambler station wagon by 8 a.m .and spent the rest of the morning running in and out to see how close we were to leaving. There were six of us.

Now I understand that getting ready for these things is sometimes worse for the moms than staying home. We are the organizers who think of everything. Okay maybe we tend to over think some times, but we are the hero when someone steps on a thorn and we can pull a pair of tweezers, antibacterial spray and just the right size Band-Aid out of a box the size of a small refrigerator in under 15 seconds.

We plan for everything. This includes sunburn and possibly moonburn if we have a total eclipse while picnicking. We make sure there is enough food in case we end up stranded for a week somewhere. We pack stuff to try and outwit the "I'm bored now" syndrome that will pop up after being there for all of 15 minutes.

Now to be fair there are also some dads out there who are just as crazy about being prepared. However most of the ones I know are content to throw a few things in the car and be on the road in twenty minutes.

They are the kind that if they discovered they forgot extra diapers would fashion a new one out of newspapers, a garbage bag and duct tape for the car ride and then let the kid run naked once they were at the park. Works for them. I would have 30 extra diapers loaded up as well as two containers full of baby wipes and three changes of clothes and back up pair of shoes. That would get us through a long day at the park.

To be fair I still enjoy picnics and outings. The firework displays are icing on the cake of a wonderful day celebrating our country and everything it stands for.

I just wish I was young enough to be able to stay awake for the whole thing.

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