Pat Wahler

Penning stories to savor.

Why Am I Already Covering My Ears?

It’s true I’ve gotten older, slightly neurotic, and more than a little cranky, but in my opinion, some Fourth of July festivities have gotten out of control.  Count me in for parties and eating and watching parades, but other things are better observed from afar. Loud explosions and fiery particles landing on trees, grass, and rooftops do not fill me with joy.

Unfortunately, many of my neighbors don’t share this opinion. Fireworks have been exploding for several days now, and if history is any indication, the hoop-la-la will continue (with varying degrees of intensity) well beyond the Fourth. The noise terrorizes pets who run away to flee the scary sounds, burning embers are a fire hazard, and people sometimes lose a few fingers when they forget to run after lighting a fuse.

Another issue is my own dog, Winston, who would rather sneak a pee on the floor than go outside in the middle of World War III. No way, no how is he leaving the house when it sounds like the world is coming to an end.

Do you hear what I hear?

Bogey is less fireworks-challenged than Winston, although he does resent losing the entertainment value provided by watching birds and squirrels in the yard. I’ve often wondered what the woodland creatures must be thinking as they pack their nests and skedaddle from the area huffing, “There go those humans again, ruining the neighborhood. They sure know how to make property values decrease.”

When did Americans enter this love affair with blowing things up?

According to an article in, one year after the Declaration of Independence was signed, Philadelphia threw an enormous party.

One of the most elaborate celebrations in 1777, and the first organized celebration of its kind occurred in Philadelphia. This event had all of the elements of typical future celebrations-the discharge of cannon, one round for each state of the union, the ringing of bells, a dinner, the use of music, the drinking of toasts (it would subsequently be traditional to have one toast for each state of the union), “loud huzzas”, a parade, fireworks, the use of the nation’s colors, in this case the dressing up of “armed ships and gallies” in the harbor. 

Although my neighbors aren’t shooting cannons (at least not yet), my house is shaking from firecrackers and cherry bombs. However, reading about the first celebration did give me an idea on how to cope. If I drink a toast to each state of the union – all fifty of them! – most likely I won’t care what’s happening around me or puddling on my floor.

Bang! Sizzle! Kapow!

It’s true that we each must develop our own methods of getting by. From what Winston is showing me, it looks like one of mine will include a bottle of professional strength Resolve and a great big sponge.

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  1. Pat–I am with you when it comes to fireworks. I hate them! I hate the noise, I hate the smell. I hate that dogs are traumatized.

    • Pat Wahler

      June 29, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      Me too, Sioux. What makes a bad situation worse is that the firework shooting is not limited to one day. It goes on and on and on…

  2. Oh my. 50 toasts sounds a little daunting. I’m a fan of fireworks, but only the municipal, well-controlled kind. My husband and all of my in laws are enthusiastic about lighting their own and it makes me so nervous. They are at least very cautious, but my boys have also caught the bug. At least the dog doesn’t mind. As long as he’s with us, he’s pretty cool with the whole thing.

    • Pat Wahler

      June 29, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      Sarah, I have a friend who used to own a dog who loved fireworks so much, she chased and then grabbed them, even if it burned her mouth. Ouch!

  3. The fourth of July has always been my least favorite holiday due to the fireworks. We live close to an indian reservation and they can sell the fireworks that are illegal here. People buy them and shoot them off anyway

    • Pat Wahler

      June 29, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      I hopped over to your blog, and was stunned to see that little Bailey went to the Rainbow Bridge. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  4. Linda O'Connell

    June 29, 2017 at 7:21 am

    I used to be terrified of the 4th of July fireworks as a child. Last week someone set off professional fireworks about half a mile away which shook the neighborhood and lit up the sky. Read later a business obtained a permit. It was shocking, irritating, noisy. Maybe I’ll start toasting the nuts. Whee! I feel sorry for animals.

    • Pat Wahler

      June 29, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      Linda, it wouldn’t be quite so bad if we only had to deal with it on the Fourth (and professionals handled all the pyrotechnics). Now it just seems to go on for days and days.

  5. I agree about the fireworks. I was babysitting my niece last Saturday and someone was letting off fireworks late into the night, and my niece couldn’t sleep because she was scared. They were still letting off fireworks at 10:30 at night.

    • Pat Wahler

      June 30, 2017 at 7:01 am

      It never seems to stop, does it, Angela? I read an article about how all the explosions are terrible for veterans who have PTSD too. I guess there’s too much money to be made by selling fireworks to amateurs.

  6. Pat: I totally get you. But my dog is okay with fireworks. It is Halloween that is awful for him. With Katie being so excited, we definitely have to be in the spirit , which includes trick or treaters also coming to our house. I think dogs really love their routine, and frankly, we probably do too.

    • Pat Wahler

      June 30, 2017 at 7:04 am

      Margo, some dogs can handle it, others not so much. My dogs have always been the hide-under-the-bed type on the Fourth, and barking maniacs on Halloween.

      I think you’re right about routine. I know I love mine. 🙂

  7. Our dog is terrified of fireworks. Last night he tried to hide under the coffee table, and he’s a black Lab!

    • Pat Wahler

      July 7, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      Donna, those darn fireworks are a menace. Thankfully, things have slowed down, but I have a sneaking suspicion the “leftovers” may still be shot off this weekend. 🙁

  8. I feel the same! Macy is terrified! I had to drug her. The night BEFORE the 4th, she woke me, digging my hands out from under the covers….12:29a.m. BOOM every 7 minutes til 1:45. Macy was panting, heart racing, skin quivering. I have a friend whose dog stroked out in fear and another who put her 14 year old dog down knowing her dog couldn’t deal with fireworks one more time. There are plenty of displays to see…do we have to also have them in Our neighborhoods ?

    • Pat Wahler

      July 7, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      Holly, it seems like a heck of a way to celebrate our country’s birthday. I feel sorry for the animals (both domestic and wildlife) and the people who are traumatized by the unending explosions.

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