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July things…..

June 30, 2014

COPD, the cat, and things that go bang in the nite….

My usual morning routine involves getting up before the birds….not necessarily because I want to, but because that’s when the cat may be found sitting on my chest, facing south, and swatting my face with his tail. If he is being especially intuitive, he’ll move down a bit to straddle the general area where my septuagenarian bladder will have been crossing its metaphorical legs for an hour or so.

Today was no exception to the norm. I arose, visited the Room of Relief, and meandered to the kitchen (my navigation system doesn’t kick in until after 0530 and two cups of coffee the consistency of pudding) where I opened a can of that sun brewed road-kill they call “cat food”, and once the feline alarm clock was duly bribed, I then fed Mr. Coffee.

The morning news and weather report were next on the agenda, so my coffee, and the cat, accompanied me to the living room where the cat and I attempted to occupy the same spot on the couch and I won (paybacks are a bitch).

The weather report this morning was not that good, at least not for me. It sounded like the humidity was going to be more suited for gargling than for breathing and the temperature was going to be doing chin-ups on the ninety mark. Let’s face it. Those weren’t ideal conditions for someone who started hiding a pack of Lucky Strikes in his sock at thirteen, didn’t give up the game of respiratory roulette for forty years, and who will earn his Masters in Pneumonia on the next go-around. I decided that any domestic farming chores would just have to wait. It was stacking up to be a fool around on the computer day, with the A/C cranked, of course.

***

It was. (hot and humid)

I did. (park my butt in the house)

Tomorrow is to be a ditto. Welcome to July

The only thing on my schedule tomorrow is a trip to the fireworks store to pick up some “amusements” for the holiday.

***

Speaking of things that go bang in the night, a large number of years ago, I had the opportunity to be on site for the launching of one of the biggest aerial displays to ever leave the ground in Maine. The Fourth of July event took place at a small town airstrip near here, the same one where my brother in law kept his ultra-light in more recent times as a matter of fact. I’ve got lots of bird’s eye view photographs of our house, but not once did he catch me mowing the lawn. Anyway, on that Fourth, some 25-30 years ago, people came from all over the state to see this thing go up and then go off.

This was no freakin’ bottle rocket, let me tell you. I forget the details, so allowing for some small margin of error to cover potential embellishments, I seem to recall they had to dig a hole some eight or ten feet deep which was then lined with an industrial strength “Sonotube” and backfilled to form a vertical cannon of sorts. As with the old Naval battleship guns, the projectile was helped on its way by several bags of smokeless gunpowder, but I don’t know how many.

I remember sitting in the car on the tarmac among several hundred other carloads of folks who enjoy seeing things blow up, swatting mosquitoes and waiting.

At about nine o’clock, the show began, so people exited their vehicles and stretched out on the roof or hood if they hadn’t brought lawn chairs. The introductory displays were fun, continuous, and exquisitely loud, but would prove to be mere flea flatulence compared to the Grand Finale.

Eventually, there was a long pause in the action and the crowd became quiet.

And then it happened. You know how it sounds when they set off the bank of aerials at a Fourth of July fireworks show? Off in the distance one can hear a rapid series of sounds like “Foom! Foom! Foom! Foom!….” and then spiraling trails of sparks soar up into the night sky before suddenly being replaced by gigantic showers of colored fire in a variety of configurations. It was like that, but not quite.

There was one…big…

“FOOM!”

…..and one could feel it as well as hear it. And then the blackness was divided by one, big, fat, pillar of white sparks reaching for the clouds. The package at its peak, carrying all of the appropriate chemicals and explosives, was said to have been eighteen inches in diameter. Whether it was or not I can’t say. But what I can say is that I have never witnessed a blast like that. The entire airfield was lit up for a second, and if I had been fast enough I could have read the newspaper by it. Instantly spreading out to the 360 degree points of the compass from the mini-sun overhead, the multi colored cascade of fire reached for the horizons. For the briefest moment, it was like being under a dome. And then it was all over. That promised to be a tough act to beat.

So far, nobody has managed.

 

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