It has been postulated that fireworks, in fact, explosives in general, can cause otherwise sensible people to turn inexplicably stupid. I would like to claim immunity to this and I could, but for those pesky witnesses. You know them--the ones who are at the ready with the ubiquitous "What the hell were you thinking?!?"
On this particular Fourth of July I find myself thinking about Sam. Sam was the consummate "good old dog." He could be safely let loose into a group of children and
become their new favorite playmate. He could be left alone in a car with an unwrapped cheeseburger and wouldn't take even a nibble. He went kayaking, canoeing, whitewater rafting, sledding, and enjoyed a good run alongside a bicycle. So why shouldn't he join us in our annual trek to the July 4th celebration in Rogersville, TN?
Rogersville is one of those "whooda thunk" experiences. The secret? A professional fireworks display company that is based there. Think Super Bowl, Las Vegas, etc..
They donate their services and lots of fireworks to the town's celebration every year. There are other factors as well, but the end result is a 40 minute fireworks display that rivals that of any major city you can think of. Sitting in the park from which the flamboyant rockets are launched, the earth quakes and you practically need an umbrella to keep the rain of ash off one's face. It's a total immersion kind of experience.
Dog leash, beach chairs, cooler, book, frisbee and child in hand, we disembarked, following a 20 minute recon parking mission. We staked our claim to a prime viewing spot next to a playground area, teeming with unsuspecting children. Sam went for the kids and after the parents recovered from their initial terror, all was well and the kids had the pooch in the middle of the carousel.
Dusk came and anticipation was tempered by tired children draped in the laps of adults and babies long since crashed out in strollers and on shoulders. Those close to the open hillside watched the men ready the clumps of explosives, wires and electrical equipment. You really didn't want that first blast to catch you off guard--not if you were that close.
Sam lay by our side, tongue hanging out, exhausted from two solid hours of running with the under-10 crowd. Then there it was, the first BOOM, followed by a whoosh and then the sky filled with rooster-tails and star-bursts to rival the imagined end of days. Sam thought it was. Imagine my surprise to find that 125 lbs. of German Shepherd could wedge himself under a beach chair...between my ass and the ground. He was terrified, shaking, and then suddenly out from under the chair and in my lap. From there he tried desperately to root under my arm and tunnel behind my back. He finally came to a stop wrapped around my torso with his nose curled behind my neck. His trembling never stopped until well-after the grand finale.
In my defense, I swear that I had no prior recollection of Sam being afraid of thunder, gunshots, etc... After that evening, it took him years before he stopped running for cover during a thunderstorm.
We now have Rooster, another German Shepherd. He too shows no signs of fear of loud noises. I intend to support that habit. We will again enjoy our national holiday sans dog but with the sense of patriotism and pride that I hope everyone shares as they gaze at those bombs bursting in air.