I love the 4th of July. Any holiday that combines beer, water-sports, and colorful fire is OK in my book.
This year was our first 4th of July as parents. We did the responsible thing and took our daughter on her first public skinny dipping excursion*. Afterwards, we left the party early to get her into bed by eight-thirty. We were sad to leave, but this did mean that we got to spend the evening with our dog, Cricket. Unfortunately, Cricket cannot attend any July 4th parties because of the proprietary relationship she feels towards all unattended hot-dogs. She also goes bat-shit when the fireworks start.
* Just to be clear--only the baby was skinny dipping-- we had bathing suits.
I still remember Cricket's first July 4th. We were at the lake with our family, and had just enjoyed a long and fulfilling day of beer and water-sports. We settled into our lawn chairs to enjoy the town-sanctioned firework displays, and also the amateur firework displays-- which were much more impressive than the ones put on by the town. (It's important to note that this particular lake was located in South Carolina, where roadside firework stands are the largest contributor to the state's economy, and neighbors--while friendly--are somewhat competitive in the area of backyard pyrotechnics.)
The dog was having a blast. She had gotten to swim in the lake all day, fetch sticks by jumping off the end of the dock, and roll in an unidentified dead fish that had washed up on shore. You might say that it was the greatest day of her dog life. That's when the fireworks started. She couldn't understand why everyone was just sitting there when WE WERE UNDER ATTACK! She had no choice--she did what any brave and loyal labrador would do and BOLTED. I think she figured that if someone was going to get shot, it might as well be her parents, who were much slower than her and had been pretty stingy with their unattended hotdogs earlier anyways.
We eventually chased her down and put her in the trailer for the rest of the evening, but that's when we realized that the 4th of July is the one night of the year that Cricket must be indoors. Usually we heartlessly leave her-- going off to a party while she cowers under the bed alone. This year was different. We sat with Cricket and reassured her as the fireworks exploded. Instead of the bed, she cowered under the coffee table-- which we viewed as a great improvement. All in all it was a great evening, full of cold beers, a sleeping baby, and a very grateful dog. We managed to eat 3 of the 6 hot dogs we brought to the party, which is our best average yet. Maybe next year, we'll go back to the way things were, going out on the town without the dog. Or just maybe, Cricket will learn to be brave and then she can go skinny dipping too.