Independence Day, Rain and Neighbors…

Today’s forecast: 4-6 inches of rain over the next 24 hours!

Say what you will, but over the last couple years I’ve come to love it when it rains on the 4th of July, and so does my homeowners insurance carrier (ba-doom-ching). That’s because the people who live on our cul-de-sac (and the neighboring streets, for that matter) in this particular upper middle class suburban neighborhood, while decent folk (with one, eh, make that two notable exceptions), are not what you’d otherwise call deep thinkers*. In this particular context, I mean that many seem to believe that “patriotism” is measured by the amount of money one spends at the local fireworks stand.

Ok, wait a minute. That was snarky, which is fine with me, but I don’t mean to be picking on fireworks – that’s not my purpose. Hell, I love fireworks – I’ve shot off way more than my fair share, especially when (1) I was younger, and (2) my kids were younger.

I guess my big complaint is this: even before having kids, I’ve always tried to balance our celebration with the sometimes competing interest of being a good neighbor, meaning that we’ve alway tried to end the fireworks at a reasonable hour. Admittedly, “reasonable hour” was 11-ish before I had kids, and 10-ish after, but still, even as a childless single person living in a neighborhood with families, we never – NEVER – shot fireworks till the wee hours of the morning.

(Brace yourself, here comes my curmudeoney “get off my yard” moment)

And then there’s the issue of the clean-up, or rather lack thereof. If only our neighbors, or some of them, put as much effort into cleaning up their mess from: my yard, my driveway, the street in front of my house (no, I don’t really expect anyone to climb up on top of my two and half story roof to retrieve spent ordinance) as they do into the firing of said ordinance, well, let’s just say that would be refreshing (and that’s an understatement).

As the saying goes, common courtesy just isn’t so common anymore, but when our kids were young enough to want to shoot fireworks at home, we always – ALWAYS – spoke to the four or eight closest neighbors on both sides of our house beforehand to let them know that we’d be shooting fireworks on the night of the 4th. And, after the fireworks, we’d break out the garbage can, brooms and flashlights right then – THAT NIGHT – to sweep up the street and driveways (including those of our neighbors), and of course, we’d make a pass through the yard and our neighbors’ yards the next morning looking for any remnants that needed to be picked up and thrown away. Isn’t that just basic neighborly “common courtesy”?

Apparently not anymore… GET OFF MY YARD!!!

Happy Independence Day everyone!

yeah, in a minute…
*. It should go without saying that this piece is, to an extent, satirical. Most of our neighbors are – again, with one or two notable exceptions – wonderful people.
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