Fourth of July, 2020 style

Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton. Brilliant.
Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton. Brilliant.

So how was your Fourth of July? Safe and fun, I hope. Mine was a mixed bag.

It started in the afternoon when my son and granddaughter came over. First time we’d been together since before the first of March. Masked up and properly distanced, we watched “Hamilton.” Wow. It was everything I’d imagined. And I don’t usually care for musicals. Whatever you’ve heard about it, it’s all that and more. Both son and granddaughter had watched it just the night before and both were eager to see it again. It was so appropriate for the Fourth of July. We contemplated and discussed history and stagecraft and the various performances. Especially interesting because my granddaughter is into musical theater in a big way.

And by the way, I couldn’t disagree more with those who pan the show because it’s not historically accurate. It’s a play! Get over it.

Anyway, the bottom line is I highly recommend it. It’s streaming now on Disney Plus. And do turn on the subtitles. There was one place where the words went so fast I could barely read fast enough, much less understand what I was hearing.

Then came evening.

It’s been bad enough for the last month, having isolated illegal fireworks exploding in the neighborhood every night. Guaranteed to raise my blood pressure and terrorize my 60-lb dog. But that was nothing compared to the night of July 4. It sounded like WWIII had erupted right here in River City. Pops, explosions, and massive concussive booms all around. Aerials lighting up the sky directly behind my house — probably originating from the playground back there. I was so angry! It’s illegal! It’s dangerous for people and endangers my property. Even my son called to complain about the noise around his house. He was as angry as I was.

The 10 pm news had a helicopter shot of Denver and you could see aerials exploding everywhere. The next day I saw videos, with color and sound, of the same sort of thing happening in many major cities. Most of the comments were from people saying it was the greatest Fourth ever and they’d never forget it, etc.

Just one example of how bad (or good) it was:

It was, presumably, a reaction to most professional public fireworks displays being canceled, due either to COVID-19 fears or, here at least, the high fire danger. But beyond that I worry that a lot of it was sociopolitical commentary — people angry about one thing or another and wanting to display their rebellion and the inability of authorities to stop them. (The sale, purchase, or possession of fireworks is mostly illegal in Colorado, but it’s a relatively quick trip from Denver to Cheyenne.)

Maybe I’m a Karen for being so angry about the blatant disregard of the law. But all that crap startles me, traumatizes my dog (despite her prescription sedative), and poses a significant fire danger. It seems to me it would have been better to go ahead and have the professional shows — heavily monitored by fire departments and attended only by those who chose to be there — rather than inflicting massive fireworks on entire cities.

Okay, end of rant. At least it’s been quiet ever since. Apparently every last firecracker was ignited on the Fourth.

17 thoughts on “Fourth of July, 2020 style

  1. We had crazy fireworks here too. Thank goodness it’s over now.

    I’m curious about all the people who are watching Hamilton. Are there that many people who subscribe to Disney+? Or, is there a way to access the play without a subscription? We subscribe to a few streaming services (Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO) and am not anxious to add another. Is there a way to just subscribe for a month?

    1. We used my granddaughter’s subscription, but I was prepared to subscribe just to see “Hamilton.” I was planning/hoping to subscribe for just a month and then cancel. That’s been possible with some other services, but I’m not sure about Disney Plus. They also had free introductory subscriptions a while back, but I imagine they stopped that when “Hamilton” premiered.

  2. Same thing here. We’re outside the city limits, a bit rural. Lots of homes, no sidewalks, large yards, no street lighting. Perfect scenario for fireworks. It was a war zone! And one of our neighbors had some bad-ass illegals fireworks, too. The kind used at professional shows. I just assumed everyone had their own since all our shows were canceled. Personally, I love the fireworks, plus my dad used to buy them in Tennessee when we’d come back from Florida vacation at Christmas (we drove). And this was all pre-1976, so fireworks were a lot different then. So I just grew up with massive firework shows. I thoroughly enjoyed it. As we have 12 dogs here, though, there were about 3 that were terrified. But they get over it by morning.

    1. It takes Annie several nights to get over it. She won’t go out to the yard after dark unless I go with her. And we have to go late, after all the noise has stopped.

      We always had fireworks when I was a kid. But nothing professional grade like everyone seemed to have this year. Those big multiple skyrockets are professional stuff. Local news showed pictures of all the spent mortar launchers in the streets. I love the big public shows, but that stuff in the hands of amateurs, especially those with an axe to grind, is scary.

  3. My housemate watched Hamilton, too, and totally loved it. I heard some of the music – like HipHop, so I’m tempted to watch it since it has a more modern feel to it. We’ll see. I’m just not a fan of musicals. And not a fan of Revolutionary War era history.

    1. I’ve never been a fan either, but had heard so much about this particular show that I was curious. Plus I’ve recently seen Lin-Manuel on several talk shows and he’s so witty, smart, and obviously extremely talented; I think I’ve developed a crush! If you watch, don’t forget the subtitles.

      1. I almost always use subtitles. Sometimes I have difficulty understanding what people say, especially if there’s any type of background noise. My hearing is fine, I just have problems breaking up the words in my head.

        1. I rely a lot on pausing and replaying something I missed, but fortunately it doesn’t happen often. It’s one reason I don’t care for live theater. There, catching everything in a song is even harder.

  4. Wow, so envious. Had to give up my precious Hamilton tickets to take my new job last year. Even had an “and Peggy” tshirt to wear to the performance. Happy to know you liked it so much! Here, too, the fireworks were crazy. And absolutely illegal. Had visitors asking where they should go for the fireworks show… in the Park. Made for a blunt response: we are at a very high fire danger, fires are authorized only in the two campgrounds open, and there are absolutely NO fireworks allowed inside the Park. Home was no better. Oh, by the way, i resemble that remark about your anger 😉

    1. You’re kidding!! People up there were actually thinking about shooting off fireworks!!?? In the park!!!?? They go there to see the wildlife and the scenery, and then they think it’s okay to scare the wildlife and maybe burn the scenery!? The only thing I can imagine being even remotely okay would be a carefully monitored professional show at the fairgrounds.

      (I guess it’s too late to say I’m speechless … )

      I know how precious those “Hamilton” tickets were, but I was happy just getting to see Miranda.

  5. I’m out county and I think all my neighbors were in on the fireworks. At least it had rained a few days before so we didn’t have to worry much about fires popping off. I already knew I wasn’t gonna get much sleep that night (and because it was a saturday night and no work for most, they stayed up later to pop ’em off). So, I stayed up with some irish coffee and worked on a huge jigsaw puzzle with documentaries on the t.v. and the dogs by my feet so I could rub them with them. Not as traumatic as some other years, though far louder.

    My heeler used to freak out with bad storms or fireworks. When my new rescue came in a year and a half ago, they seem okay just being near each other and me instead of freaking out and barking at the noise. I guess that solidarity is what my heeler needed to get through loud nights, but I try to stay up with them so they drift off nicely, too. Worked out alright in the long run, but boy, the headache was strong for a few hours.

    1. I thought about turning on my sprinklers, given that some of the fireworks were going off right behind my fence. But I water regularly anyway, so wasn’t terribly worried. The concern is in slightly more remote areas, or, like the video on tv, house fires. And there were several of those in Denver.

      My dog used to crawl into a space under the tv to escape fireworks and thunderstorms, but there are a lot of cables under there to get tangled in. So I put a big box in that space. Now she just lies directly in front of the tv and I obligingly turn the volume way up.

... and that's my two cents