Summer — from a distance

So the solstice has been and gone — and as we were celebrating the winter article down here, our thoughts turned more to Christmas and Halloween. We were rather overlooking July 4 until Alene had to start organizing her work calendar around the holiday being observed July 3. Then Allen was really pleased he hadn’t used all the fire materials at one go. He has collected more kindling and it’s had time to dry somewhat better. And he found another pallet to break down. So, next Saturday we plan a big breakfast of pancakes and syrup — after which we will set a July 4 bonfire to light as darkness falls.

We have no fireworks, of course. Allen is rather relieved not to have to be organizing fireworks for the family, most of whom live in an unincorporated area where fireworks are not illegal. He often drives around to the Indian reservations to try to find something novel — but in recent years they’ve been stolen, so he’s had to lock them up. The other problem is the late hour of sunset in the Seattle area — it doesn’t get fully dark until around 10pm. The family likes to fire up the barbecue at lunchtime, so there are many hours of waiting around to see the fireworks — hours during which certain people can drink too much beer and get obnoxious — and kids get tired and cranky. If you don’t keep the kids entertained, they get bored. And if you do entertain the kids, they get overstimulated. You can never quite strike the right balance!

And then summer heat can add to the stress. The forecast for next weekend is for temperatures in the mid-upper 90s F – that’s well over 30C for those of you living in the modern world. Then Allen also has to inflate paddling pools and keep them filled with water. And then dogs also get wet and run through dirt which then gets tracked into the house — making womenfolk angry. As he contemplated the holiday weekend weather forecast, he concluded he would rather be down here enjoying winter with a simple fire.

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