Thursday, July 8, 2010

Near Panic on the 4th of July

But after much stress, it turned out to be a wonderful day!
It appeared that the entire weekend would be a wash out. On Friday I got in a short ride to go to the gas station and fill up the gas can for the lawn mower. That was the extent of the riding for the weekend unfortunately. I did get the lawn mowed Friday morning. Then it started to rain.
And rain.
And rain some more. Not heavy or with lots of thunder and lightning, just real steady and absolutely boring. On the 4th, people were going to come over to help grill some hamburgers and maybe shoot off some illegal fireworks after dark. But the forecast was crappy at best.
It rained all day Saturday. Sunday morning, too, and part of Sunday afternoon. But eventually that Sunday afternoon, the radar started to look like this.
The storms were all north and east of Wichita and moving away. There was hope that the evening festivities could still occur as planned.

We started the cooker and hoped that the weather would hold.

The kitchen was a beehive of activity. A cake was being baked for dessert. Potato salad finished up and beer consumed. Burgers were formed into patties for grilling and baked beans were heated up in the oven.
The burgers eventually made it onto the grill. More beer was consumed. Conversations were lively and the night looked like it was going to be a major success.
As I was getting ready to turn the burgers over on the grill, I heard that my daughter, who is getting married in November, could not find her engagement ring.

My initial thought was that she had just set it down someplace and it would quickly turn up. As I supervised and observed the cooking of the burgers, I could hear people inside the house asking questions like "Where did you last remember having it on?"

Pretty soon thereafter I saw my wife and daughter painstakingly looking through the trash in the kitchen. To no avail.

Later I observed people on the floor looking into every nook and cranny such as behind the refrigerator and other places where the ring could have escaped to.

The situation was starting to get really serious. My daughter had been responsible for making the burger patties, so the thought occurred that I might actually be cooking the ring. I looked rather closely as I turned the burgers over on the grill, but did not see any evidence. She had also been working on the baked beans so I spooned through the bowl a bit, again to no avail.

She was crying, Tyler was very supportive. But we were all starting to get a bit worried.

No! A lot worried.

But then again, it isn't the magic ring of power from Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" It can't have a mind of its own. Or could it.

We decided to start eating and maybe somebody would chew into it and find it. Well, I'm kidding about that. Sort of.

After we had been eating for just a minute or two, my son went back into the kitchen to get something from the fridge and heard a little tinkling sound on the floor as he retrieved whatever it was he was getting out of the fridge.

Yeah, the darn ring was in the refrigerator on top of a packege of aragula. Darn good place to hide.

My son, the hero of the day, getting hugged by may daughter after locating the missing ring.

The ring back in its proper place. Sauron is defeated. The power of good triumphs over evil once again. People thought I was crazy to get a picture here, but this is actually a fantastic picture of our 2 kids. To me it shows in a way how close they are to each other.
It was time to move on to other parts of the agenda for the evening.
The toasting of the "mallow" is a fine science developed by much experimentation through the centuries. We had two kinds of chocolate, dark and milk chocolate, and the cheapest graham crackers we could find. Tyler here is demonstrating the ability to put numerous marshmallows in his mouth at the same time. Check out his shirt.
More heating of the "mallows"
Some people prefer to burn the mallow a bit. Others try for a light browning. Each has their own tastes and desires.
Above is my rendition of what I consider to be perfection in the art of making Smores. Note there is no burning, just light browning. Mmmmmm! The perfect combination (to me) of graham cracker, chocolate and mallow
Then it became time to make some noise. The scene was set. The weapons lined up for display.
Sedgwick County, this year, relaxed some of the fireworks ordinances, but they are still more restrictive than the neighboring counties. No bottle rockets or roman candles or big mortars are allowed. But lots of people ignore this anyway. It's only a 10 minute drive to the next county where you can get almost anything you might want.
Now, you might consider this a bit crazy, but a tradition has developed in our family recently to "blow up " cake on the 4th of July. Yes, cake.
The cake has taken various forms over the years, this year in a pan. Cupcakes have been used in the past.
The firecrackers are ready to be lit.
Tyler is making this year's first attmept at cake destruction.
You may ask why. There is no reasonable answer. It's just fun!
The results of the first explosion. Some damage, but not as impressive as we were hoping for.
It became time to get a little more serious. An old cooking pan that was to be thrown away became part of the methodology of destruction.
Loading the pan.
The placement of the pan on the cake with about a bazillion firecrackers underneath.
Woa, Nelly!
The resulting destruction. The cake is in smithereens.
The it was time to break out some sparklers. One of the neighbor kids joined us.
Sparklers for all!
After the sparklers, an appetite was developed and we went back inside to actually eat some cake. Laura made pound cake topped with blackberries and frosting. Delicious!!
Then we were back outside. Pretty dark now and a good time for some fountains.
I usually have a terrible time trying to take pictures of fireworks.
But some of these didn't turn out too badly.
We shot off what we had. Some of our neighbors shot off a few and we sat outside and watched the sky for awhile. We stayed out until about 10:30 or so.
What a great day it turned out to be.
About midnight that night, it started to rain again.
We didn't care!


  1. good 4th of July report...even though minimalistic in terms of motorcycle content : )

    glad the ring was found, that would have been a major bummer.

  2. Charlie,
    A bummer it would have been. It just had to be somewhere. But for about an hour there.....


  3. Dear CPA3485 (Jimbo):

    The ring was found... The burgers were served... The explosives went off... And the holiday was saved.

    It was hard to lose the wedding ring from my second marriage... It went around my ankle and attached to a bowling ball.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads