Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Independence Day, in which we introduce Nashua to fireworks.

Each year Brian comes to visit up for the 4th of July, and he and Liam and I drive east to the seacoast (of which New Hampshire has 18 miles) to help Liam's grandfather set off fireworks. Grandpa Jack runs Jack's 5-Star Fireworks, and set off the fireworks display for the Beach Club near Hampton Beach, and for the Town of Rye. Usually we hammer together mortar tubes on the beach starting at 6 p.m., linking together the bombs with long fuses, and then hurry-up-and-wait for full dark. This year, however, we were hampered by the tide. The tide was still high at 8 p.m., such that we could only set up at about 9:45 p.m., which is incredibly late. The water was still awfully close, then, but it was enough that we were far enough away from the road that we wouldn't cause a car fire. We knew about the high tide and had easy-to-lay cake-fireworks instead of separate mortars, which only took about 15 minutes to set up. Unfortunately, cake-fireworks don't fly as high as mortars, nor are they quite as fabulous on the lesser budget we were given by the Beach Club (who were not happy with the display or the length, even though they were the ones to cut the budget when they'd heard we couldn't set up mortars in the water). We could hear the Club managers complaining that we weren't able to start at 9:30, demanding we start earlier in direct defiance of the stern safety instructions of the Fire Marshals present and observing, seeming to demand that the tide go out faster. But the tide waits for no man, and nor does it hurry up for any man.
It was nice to have such a fast set-up and clean-up, though. Normally it takes hours, and there is heat and sand and it's full-dark but for our flashlights and the bugs are attracted to our flashlights and then to us.

The Rye fireworks went much better, a fabulous display of cake-fireworks carefully timed to dazzle in the smaller venue of the park field. We brought Nashua with us to these, as it would take only a few hours to execute, short enough that he would have a good chance of behaving, and not acting out from boredom. We kept him on his 50' longline so he could run, and he discovered a tennis ball which he brought back to us to throw. He loves to chase, but quickly loses interest once he's found the ball again. Our intention was to expose him to fireworks, that he learn not to be frightened by the sudden noises and lights so his future blind handler can enjoy holiday parties and events with their families. He did very well. At the first blooms he startled and pressed against Liam's legs, staring up at the lights in the sky, trying to figure it all out. He did not run. He did not bark. He did not cower. His heart beat quickly, but he did not panic, and that was what we had hoped for.
He went right to sleep afterwards, collapsing across my feet in the car's footwell, stuffing his face into the cool air coming from the air conditioner.

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