Momma, the rabid Republican and patriot, loves the Fourth of July! (It’s America’s Birthday, Lina!”) And even though she does not particularly like having people over (“all the work and small talk, Lina”), every year she “bites” the bullet and invites friends over to party and watch fireworks on the lake.
It should be noted here that these fireworks are fabulous – some of the best in the Twin Cities. In fact, Momma has no problem getting friends to come over as we have perhaps the best view of anyone on the lake. I shouldn’t woof this, but it’s true – they’ll even put up with her just to see the show. (Momma had actually contemplated charging admission, but dismissed the idea out of paw, because she really didn’t want to risk celebrating the Fourth alone.)
She also really wants the friends around because they provide her with a captive audience for the little fireworks “warm-up” act she and her friend, Bill, present. They love to sing and play their guitars and have put together a patriotic song play list and require everyone to sing along. Occasionally, they’ll even let others have the stage for a quick moment, if they want to tell a joke or two. This year Momma added an historical quiz to the program and – you guessed it – the winner’s prize was a pawdographed copy of Lina Unleashed. (This despite the fact that they have all been forced to buy a copy or two or three, months ago.)
Momma was determined that this year’s festivities proceed without a hitch. One of the potential issues involved me, of course. Over the years I have grown quite terrified of the Fourth of July noise. This presented a dilemma to Momma who really wanted to be enjoying a glass of wine down by the fire pit, gazing up at the “bombs bursting in air” and hoping no one would bother her. She has not been able to enjoy the fireworks, however, for the past couple of years because she instead finds herself stuck in the house soothing me!
This year she had a plan. First, she would give me my Calming Aid tablet in plenty of time (rather that after the fireworks have started) so I’ll be, well, calm during what sounds like WWIII. Then – and this was to be her secret weapon (speaking of wars) – she would wrap me in my new Thundershirt!
Seriously? Like a shirt and a little herbal pill are going to help when all hell is raining down around me? Needless to woof, it did not do the “trick.” I was as freaked as ever, and Momma ended up sitting in the basement with me again this year.
However – and this is where things get interesting – it turned out the Fourth wasn’t over for us after all! Because we had torrential rains that day, the big fireworks show did not take place and was rescheduled for the next Friday evening, two days hence.
Which brings us back to Momma wanting everything to go like clockwork this year. It seems that Rob and Matt, who run the fireworks extravaganza, had approached her a few weeks ago to ask if she would let them shoot off the big finale from our place – The Point. Needless to say, Momma was over the moon and visions of grandeur danced in her head. (“Just think, Lina, our place will be featured in the big show!!”) Still, she didn’t want to appear too eager, and responded that it would be okay as long as all safety concerns were addressed.
Probably against their better judgment, Rob and Matt decided they would indeed do the finale from The Point and plans went forward. In fact, Momma walked the property with them and offered her expert opinion on the best places from which to launch, and whether the nearby shrubs and trees would be in the way. Seriously? She also had several conversations via phone and text regarding the details. In fact, she was feeling pretty darn cocky – she was now officially part of “The Fireworks Team” in her mind. Imagine little old her being right in the midst of plans for the big show with hundreds, if not thousands, of boaters and neighbors watching.
She did have one little de”tail” to take care of, though, before the big event – me. She just couldn’t have any distractions during what would probably be the highlight of her life on the lake.
Since she knew the little pill and jacket did nothing for me, she dropped me off at the house of good friends. By the way, it was probably the best night of the summer for me. Here I am with Auntie Lori and Uncle Greg (he’s the one who taught me to speak).
They gave me treats and took me for a big long (quiet!) walk. I was in doggie heaven!
Meanwhile things were in full swing at the lake. Rob had told her when this plan was first hatched that NO ONE was allowed to walk down to the point that night, and they would be putting up restrictive tape to keep people out. Momma, thoroughly engaged by now, even sent out an email to her guests instructing them that this whole operation was extremely dangerous and that under no circumstances was anyone to walk down to the point.
Late on Friday, Rob told Momma that they had set up the fireworks at two different locations on her property. One half-way down the path and one at the very end. Things were set and she was tingling with excitement
When her boarding friend, Lori, came over that evening, they decided to cruise across the channel to action central – where most of the show would take place – just to check things out. She was after all an integral part of The Team, and by this time thought of Lori as her deputy in case she needed some assistance.
Rob and Matt were busy setting things up and informed her that everything was a go at her place. Then, to her absolute astonishment, Rob told her that at 9:15 p.m., she was to walk to the point and arm the systems over there. He also explained that they would go off roughly 30 minutes later. As you can imagine, this got her attention. Excited to be given a real job, but terrified (welcome to my world) at the same time, she asked for a little more direction. They showed her a control box (see below):
and said all she had to do was turn the key to “arm” on one set of fireworks and then take the key to the other set and arm that one as well.
By now Momma was literally shaking all over, but she was bound and determined to do her duty. She hustled Lori back across the channel.
At exactly 9:10 (as though she was in charge of launching the space shuttle), she ordered Lori (who was busy texting and not paying attention at all), to accompany her down the point path to arm the fireworks.
And here she is in action (she was especially nervous when she had to step between what looked like sticks of dynamite to get to the control box). I’m just curious – how many of you think this was a good idea? Would you ever, in your wildest dreams, have Momma arm something that involved explosives?
Everything finally set, she and Lori raced back to our yard to watch the fireworks. And, by all accounts, it was spectacular. Momma enjoyed the show, but grew impatient for the grand finale. Rob had even texted her that the music would be “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” her favorite patriotic song.
Finally, the show was winding down and the action shifted to our backyard. Mind-blowing fireworks lit up the sky and Momma was overcome with emotion. She imagined that no one would ever forget this night – and the grand finale at The Point!
She got so excited that she grabbed her phone and ran to the end of the dock to get a better view and to record this historic moment. In her glory, she continued watching the show, when all of a sudden the fireworks came to an abrupt end and things got eerily quiet. Thinking at first this was just a pause in the action for dramatic effect, Momma watched expectantly and held her breath. As the silence continued, though, she knew something was wrong.
Her misgivings were confirmed when, a couple of minutes later, her phone lit up and she saw a text from Rob. It said, “No final song. Cops just showed up.”
Well, wasn’t that just the story of her life, she thought, crushed. She watched as the boats and crowds looked toward The Point, befuddled, wondering what had just happened. When they finally began to disperse, Momma was close to tears. Now, rather than the epic finale, her place would forever be remembered for illegal fireworks and the raid by the Burnsville police.
Lucky for Momma, just as the show ended, Lori and Greg brought her little support dog home, and I gave her one of my famous face licks! By then, however, Momma had already rebounded and exclaimed heartily, “Oh well, Lina, there’s always next year.” I can’t wait.
Lina, Still Soldiering On
Pawscript: I swear I did not call the cops.