New Castle News

July 9, 2013

Kali Davies-Anderson: It was a relaxing Fourth of July and then ... BOOM!

Kali Davies-Anderson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — There are many holidays that children enhance.  For example, I have found that Christmas has a whole new and fresh kind of innocent excitement now that I have children, and Halloween has certainly gotten a makeover in my household since my daughters were born.

But one holiday that has seemingly taken a nosedive in regard to level of fun is the Fourth of July.

This is not to take anything away from the foundation for the holiday, because as a united nation it is, by far, our most important. However, the, um, festivities, if you will, that accompany said holiday are nothing short of disturbing to a parent with a small child.

Let us examine, for a moment, these disturbing traditions.

First of all, on the other 364 days of the year, it is NOT appropriate, and some might even call it horrifically absurd, to hand your child a stick of FIRE, but on the Fourth of July it is A-OK. The more fire the better. In fact, you know what? Not full sized, but rather, miniature explosives — those are OK, too.  I have never actually seen any “incidents” occur during any July 4 gatherings that I have attended, but it is probably only a matter of time.

The fire swallowing toddlers, however, are of mild significance when compared to the most obnoxious aspect of the holiday, through the eyes of a parent with young children, that is.

You give birth and all of a sudden, loud booming sounds past 6 p.m. are almost homicidal-tendency inducing. Fireworks are no longer beautiful and spectacular displays of art, but rather insidious, pompous, excruciatingly loud, offensive and apocalyptic explosions.

I hosted a small cook-out this year at my house. We ate. We laughed. We socialized. We did not catch anything on fire.

Around 9 p.m., I finally had everything cleaned up and was able to sit out on the deck outside with my husband and enjoy the beautiful evening. That is, until someone within a one-block radius of my house began bombing the neighborhood. My husband and I then spent the next hour, not peacefully taking in the sights and sounds of the night, but rather scrutinizing each and every blast of noise, all the while STARING at our children on the video monitors and trying to decipher which sounds they heard and which ones seemed to not be within earshot.

At first, it seemed as though our children’s rooms would escape the wrath of the neighbor shenanigans, but then we heard something horrific. After a quick yet thorough analysis it came to our attention that the so-called fireworks were being magnified through, that’s right, THROUGH my oldest daughter’s baby monitor.  

“What kind of people set off FIREWORKS on the fourth of July?!” I found myself wondering. Enough was enough, I had to put a stop to this. But how?

We live in western Pennsylvania and rain is plentiful here, so I have never found myself in this predicament before, but you guessed it — I prayed for rain. My husband and I then proceeded to analyze the radar map.

“Looks Patchy.”

“Could be a pop-up storm.”

“Humidity is 80 percent ... it has to be 100 to actually rain, right?”

Things looked grim.

So, here we were, two grown adults, NOT enjoying the night on the deck, but rather neurotically checking the radar for possible “pop-up storms.”

I was annoyed at us, but this did not deter my praying.

Then, after a long and arduous hour of forecasting and pleading, it happened. The wind howled, the sky opened up and it rained — lightly for two minutes and the neighbors never stopped shooting.

I can’t wait until next year. Bah Humbug.