White Dog said, "This is a holiday that I love but I dread." I knew what she was talking about and shared her split feelings on the day. At our house, Independence Day is a celebration firstly because we have Steve home, to ourselves, all day.
The entire family participates a ritual of reading the Declaration of Independence to remind us of why this day is important and the values that founded this nation. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,..."
It was especially wonderful this year when Michael said afterward, "I guess I never realized the Fourth of July was anything more than a reason to shoot off fireworks."
A favorite part of the holiday is that this is one of the few times a year we do a traditional barbecue. Ribs grilled over smoky applewood, homemade potato salad, broccoli slaw, and apple pie with ice cream bring back seasonal memories for Steve, YoYo, Puff, and White Dog...and have reminded Taiko, Bella, and Sachi once again just how spoiled they are.
But as night fell, the White Dog Army reached the part of the day that becomes upsetting and dreadful...the beginning of fireworks around the neighborhood. YoYoMa is terrified of the noises. They remind Taiko of being shot. White Dog still remembers mean past neighbors who threw them off their balcony into our yard. The franticness of those three puts everyone on edge. Tempers become short as neediness mounts. We truly understand the statistic that this night is when the most pets go missing...and we share the pain of war vets with PTSD for whom the screams and pops and shots are ghastly reminders of their experiences.
We have learned to take precautions. Every pup received an herbal calming pill with dinner. We closed down the house and blinds. We filled the house with lavender scent. Planned a non violent movie that we could all share extra loudly. AND we had fresh meaty beef knuckles from the butcher as a distraction.
What we had not counted on was that the people across the street would host a huge party. Most was in their yard, far removed from our sight or hearing and the guests all arrived and parked respectfully. BUT when it was totally dark, they because a torture to the WDA by having several "flash" moments where all would come charging from the yard, screaming, into the street directly in front of our house, turn on loud music and dance as they waved sparklers and shot off bottle rockets to the beat. The rockets flew past our windows screeching and then exploding. Then they would return to the yard. This happened four different times and was clearly heard and the explosions seen despite our lockdown.
The WDA moved with us deeper into the house and we closed interiors doors to provide more isolation. Nighttime walks were cancelled. And we watched The Grand Hotel Budapest, a strange British story Steve had found. The pups rested for a while but then the noise started up again which set them to pacing. Hugs and soothing reassurances helped a bit but it wasn't until well after midnight (and a surprisingly strong rainstorm) that things quieted.
Then all could sleep.
Hope your holiday celebration focused on family and gratitude for the principals that still make this country a grand experiment in hope. And please take a moment to remember those two- and four-leggeds that although they live in the USA are not really free...the homeless, the disenfranchised, the hungry, those without hope and certainly without happiness. They, too, deserve a part of the American Dream.