As depressing as it is to acknowledge in print, the halfway mark of summer happens next week when we observe Independence Day.

I know, I agree if you believe it is going too fast.

I have been enjoying the beautiful June weather. Sunny, temperate days and cool evenings have been heavenly.

I noted this year that next year I really need to take a vacation during the first half of June 2020. After enduring nearly a half year of winter, it is a sin to waste the beauty of a mild June. I would be in favor of allowing everyone to have the entire month of June off, if I were king.

But alas, I am not king, nor have I won the lottery, so I am working and enjoying as much of June as I am able. Just being able to grill supper in my backyard and not be eaten alive by bugs is a treat.

So, what do you have planned for the Fourth of July? With it falling on a Thursday this year, I anticipate many folks will be taking an extended weekend. The Fourth of July is a great time to get together with family, have a picnic (complete with lots of fresh food), play some games and at the end of the day enjoy some fireworks.

We take community fireworks for granted on the Fourth of July, but they can be very labor intensive and expensive undertakings for communities. Some places have gone high tech with the rockets being choreographed and set off by computers, others rely on volunteers. We all should be grateful they happen at all.

I spent nearly all of my life in Iowa where a series of devastating community fires in 1936 led to the outlawing of all but a few fireworks. If you were a fan of the sparkler, Iowa was a great place to be a kid. If you had the gunpowder fever that could only be sated by cherry bombs and Black Cat firecrackers, you headed to South Dakota, Missouri or Wisconsin where all manner of fireworks was legal to make come clandestine purchases and return home, hopefully to stay away from Johnny Law.

I can vividly recall one year when we were enjoying running around with sparklers in the front yard, trying to enjoy the holiday when we inadvertently created a situation that would end badly.

Even though sparkers were legal, they still burned at temperatures as high as 1000º Fahrenheit. They were just pieces of wire, after all. When they burnt out, we placed them in a pile on a rock near the edge of our front porch. The rock was there to disperse water from a downspout and seemed to be a safe spot.

It wasn’t.

My older sister, too old to be running around with sparklers, came outside barefoot to see what was going on and stepped on the pile, burning her feet and causing a rapid end to our celebration of American independence.

Some cold compresses and merthiolate were applied and we went to the airport to watch the “real” fireworks. The rockets bursting in air did little to alleviate my sister’s suffering. Being six years her junior, I was less than sympathetic, something I regret now.

So when you celebrate next week, remember to be safe.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading; I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.