Independence Day is my least favorite holiday in the world. As a person who loathes loud noises and can hardly handle the heat and humidity, July 4th is not the best time in the world. The last few days of June leading up to the 4th can be torturous. Several years ago, someone in our neighborhood had a water cannon and would set it off every so often. Not knowing when it was going to go off led to some rather tense days for me and for our dog, Livvie. Liv was a large black Lab who dealt with loud noises about as well as I do, but as the years progressed, her anxiety with them increased to the point where I felt more for her discomfort than I did for my own. I would often say that I was staying home from the fireworks’ display for the dog’s sake. Because it would be wrong to let her suffer without any help from me. After we put her down, I didn’t have that excuse (Lucy doesn’t care for loud noises, but she’s OK when the fireworks are going off) anymore, yet no one has forced me attend them since. This year, I passed again, but I know that the girls and Lucas, Shelby’s fiancé, had a good time sitting on the hill by the church watching the display.

But I do miss sparklers. It seemed for a time that sparklers were taking over from rice in wedding processionals, but happily, that seems to have passed. But I still miss sparklers. I miss the sound that they make when the lighter catches on the tip of the sparkler. The smell of the sulfur as it catches in the air. The way the little kids’ eyes pop when they see their first sparkler. The way the older ones try to make hearts or letters in the air as the sparkler lights the way. The tiny little whizzes and whispers they make as they burn down to the metal. I miss the quiet that are sparklers. They don’t pack the same bang that fireworks do, but there is a certain beauty in their simplicity that fireworks never can match.

Things I love about the 4th of July:

  • cold beer
  • the annual yarn sale at Mountain Knits and Pearls
  • Big Brother (it always seems to start as we’re ramping up for the holiday)
  • cool mornings
  • the start of shorter days
  • long weekends with my husband
  • grilling on the deck
  • lemons in my water

Things I loathe about the 4th of July:

  • overly patriotic commercials, usually with country music, multiple shots of flags waving, and gratuitous shots of families romping at picnics
  • politicians making broad statements about what’s wrong with America and how they can fix it
  • loud noises (motorcycles included)
  • watching anything politically related but not limited to: FOX News, MSNBC, Sunday morning news shows
  • noisy barbecues and picnics
  • traffic (where I live, this is a given on any summer weekend)

Considering that today is July 6, I glad that the worst of the holiday is over . . . and it also brings me one step closer to my favorite part of July: the annual trip to Ohio to see my family. This year, we’re introducing Shelby’s fiancé to the whole family. Wish us luck!

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