Tuesday, July 04, 2006

And the Rockets Red Glare

It's July 4th, and here in Juneau, we have already had our fireworks. The thing is, it doesn't get dark enough to see fireworks this time of year until midnight. In most of the state, it doesn't get dark enough at all, so Southeast Alaska is the only part that has Fourth of July fireworks. The rest of the state has to be content with New Year's Eve.

Unless July 4th falls on a Saturday or Sunday, people have to get up and go to work on the 5th, so we have our fireworks at midnight, between the 3rd and 4th. They're set off from a barge in the middle of the Gastineau Channel, between Juneau and Douglas Island. And, as I mentioned, I live on a hillside overlooking Gastineau Channel. I can see the fireworks from my patio. Well, it's not so much a patio as the roof of my living room, but I just open the door from my upstairs and walk out onto it and there we are.

Because of all the mountains which surround the barge, we get echoing booms. First we get the original boom. Then it echoes off Mount Roberts (which is the one I live on the skirts of) and then across to Mount Jumbo on Douglas Island and then off Mount Juneau, and then the echoes echo. We get a lot of bang for our buck. Last night we had about four of them that shook the roof beneath our feet. This is one night you can open my front door without warning the bears you are coming, because the bears have headed for the hills and won't be back for a few hours at least!

The tradition is that I cook spare ribs for my son Richard and his wife Kathy and we have a late dinner on the 3rd and watch the fireworks together and then they walk the eight blocks home and we all go to sleep. And, the Hooligans hear the echoing booms and hide until the next day. But, first, we lock them on the front porch while I get the ribs ready and again while we eat dinner. Poor Hooligans. The Fourth of July isn't their holiday so much.

But it is mine. First I get some time with Richard (Kathy is a librarian and she works until 9 most days), then Kathy gets here and I get some time just with her while he does any tweaking my computer needs, then dinner is ready and I get the both of them. And, of course, the next day I get very quiet cats. And today there will be a parade downtown, followed by another (featuring most of the same floats) on Douglas Island (just across the bridge) and sand castle contest and community barbecue and all the other delights of small town USA.


Deja Pseu said...

We watched our city's fireworks display last night, and I have to say that it gets better every year. This year's were really spectacular. They even had some that formed different shapes...a cube, a smiley face. The best part is that the origination of the fireworks show is from the high school which is only about a block (crow flies block) from our house, so we don't have to deal with driving, parking, etc. We just pick up our beach chairs and head to the park across the street to get out from under the trees and then just look up. It's one of the best things about living in our neighborhood. Sam LOVES fireworks. He yells "more! more!" and claps after each boom.

Maya's Granny said...

I must admit that I love fireworks. They are so pretty. And we seem to have cloudless nights for them more often than not. Which is a good thing, because even at midnight it isn't dark enough for us to see the stars.

Autumn's Mom said...

That sounds lovely. Hi, I'm one of J's friends. We live in a small town too. We have a big festival celebrating a fish in October, so that is when we do the big fireworks. We are lucky (or maybe not) that we can still do legal fireworks in our neighborhoods. I was too lazy sipping the last of my margarita to come out tho ;)