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Christmas Countdown - 2011

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Posted 07-07-2011 at 05:56 AM by Jeff Westover

I should have blogged this instead of being so long winded in the Countdown thread. What I dork I am sometimes.

As a footnote to this I would just note that I find the day after the Fourth of July to be kind of like the day after Christmas. We spend some time cleaning up the sad remains of a good time and contemplating how long it will be tell it comes around again.

Of course, unlike Christmas, in Utah we get TWO Fourth of July holidays -- there's the 4th and then the 24th of July, which is called Pioneer Day here in Utah, commemorating the arrival in the valley of the Mormon Pioneers on July 24th, 1847.

What else is there to do on the 24th besides BBQ, fireworks and water fights? Well, there's the parade, the biggest in America, featuring pioneer and cowboy themed floats from all over the valley.

For me though there is just one Fourth of July, just as there is just one Christmas.

I know folks who celebrate Santa passing back through on his way back to the North Pole but I've never bought into that. There is just one Christmas and for as much as we love it once it is over it is over...and we start counting down again the very next day.

The 4th is always a big mark on my calendar because it is a hump day of sorts. Time compresses and goes by faster from this point forward in the year.

This year I feel it more than ever. Over the 4th I spent some time working on the next episode of the Merry Podcast and as I do this more and more it puts me more in the mood for Christmas.

I know I keep saying this but this next podcast is just epic. I can't wait to work on it some more and share it with you.

Originally Posted by Jeff Westover View Post
Boy, what an epic Fourth.

Like most daytime hours on the Fourth it kind of dragged for me today. I was up working on the site until about 5 am and then went to bed for a few hours. When I got up around ten the kids were well underway with their water battle plans so I puttered, as they say. I watched 1776, which is kind of a tradition for me every 4th of July.

Then I went out to buy a few more "parachute men", the particular kind of daylight fireworks my kids have loved since they were little. You light them during the day and they shoot up about 50 feet in the air, explode and a little parachute opens and it falls to the groud. I bouight like 100 of them knowing with all the kids in the neighborhood, in the midst of battle, would love it.

And they did. The water fight was all ready by the time I got back from the store. The weather was weird today, kind of overcast and muggy but certainly not the hot we had yesterday. So they kids were kind of milling around, waiting I thought for someone to fire the first shot.

Well, the kids had prepped -- and this is no exageration -- more than 500 water bombs. They were all over the place so I grabbed an ice chest full of them and pulled them behind my car and started firing. I got off maybe four before the return barrage began.

I got creamed. Inside of 30 seconds I was soaked as every kid took aim at me and I got charged by my two teenage daughters (13 and 15 years old) who fearlessly and relentlessly attacked. I did my best to hold them off but I couldn't overcome all of them and the falling water bombs fired off from a distance.

After getting cleaned up from that and taking a safe view of things from inside I watched the battle before heading off to cook the food.

Utah is a state that has allowed fireworks in specific areas for years but this year they changed the laws and now anyone can shoot off fireworks that stay within 150 feet. That's a really big change and we didn't realize it until tonight.

We usually use the street in front of our house and the one across the street for the cookout and the fireworks (and, evidently, it is ground zero now for the water battle too). Everyone lines up chairs on either side and the Dads and older boys light off the fountains and such we've traditionally purchased. I looked at the new legal aerial fireworks available this year but didn't buy any because the cheapest ones were like $15 a piece and I just couldn't justify that. But a neighbor bought five of them and added them to the pile that everyone else brought.

This year it took us nearly 2 hours to get through it all but what really made it spectacular were all the new fireworks going off everywhere. The biggest fireworks show in the country is evidently held just south of me in Provo every year and they call it the Stadium of Fire. Well, from where I was sitting in front of my house I felt I was in the stadium of fire -- or living in Beirut -- as all these new fireworks filled the sky from every direction as my neighborhood erupted in fireworkds like I've never seen.

In years passed we have always had the fire department come by and check us out. It became something of an annual joke because we had several families involved in our festivities each year and we saw the same firemen every year. Last year, we actually talked them in to having a hot dog with us because we see them every year, they look at all the fireworks we're using and move on.

One year they came by just as we were ending our show. Three doors down from us there is an elementary school and some other neighbors at that precise moment had decided to use the school to shoot off their illegal fireworks they had obtained over the border in Wyoming. The firemen didn't even have time to turn one his lights, he made a beeline for the school and aprehended our neighbors. My neighbor across the street got smart and called the cops and asked that they be arrested. Turns out he called a family friend who was a cop and he did just that -- came out, cuffed the neighbor and put him in the squad car right in front of the firemen, who started to freak out because it was their job to issue citations and they didn't want to get in trouble for allowing a citizen to be arrested for illegal fireworks.

It all ended up fun and we have had a good laugh about it for years. But this year the firemen never came by and it made me a little sad.

When I'm not watching Christmas movies I'm watching baseball movies and one I love is callled The Sandlot, which is all about little boys and their love of baseball. There is a scene in that movie where they are playing ball on the Fourth as fireworks explode in the sky to the tune of America the Beautiful by Ray Charles. That was the way I felt tonight with all the fireworks going off at once in all directions in the sky.

It was an epic night, for sure. Once always to be remembered. I hope everyone here had a terrific weekend.
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  1. Old Comment
    MerryCarey's Avatar
    I get that letdown feeling after July Fourth, too---summer's half over, and summer is too short around here. And it'll be a year or more before I can get away for another vacation. But MMC and our annual DVD of Christmas clips will be keeping me busy, so maybe I won't notice the leaves starting to turn brown before the end of August.
    Posted 07-07-2011 at 07:18 AM by MerryCarey MerryCarey is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Christmas-A-Holic's Avatar
    It was great that you shared this in the Countdown and blog it as well so it can be read by others as well who may not want to go through many pages to find it. It was not long winded AT ALL! We enjoyed it very much. =)
    Posted 07-07-2011 at 02:50 PM by Christmas-A-Holic Christmas-A-Holic is offline
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