Hurrah for the Red, White and Blue! Oreo's that is. Ok. So perhaps that isn't exactly a traditional Independence Day photo. But then this year the 4th of July didn't feel very traditional.
All normal fesitivities were cancelled. The usual trek to the beach (all 12 minutes of walking involved) to watch the official Venice fireworks over the water was scratched. Gatherings for fun and games with friends and family was O.U.T. Big cookouts with burgers and dogs and s'mores was not happening. There were no parades, no annual boating events, no swim-a-thons, no nothin'.
We all understand why, of course. It's a safety thing. Pre-virus we didn't give a second thought to jamming a zillion or so strangers onto the beach to light up sparklers and talk and laugh with each other while waiting for the big show. Holiday gatherings had a "come one, come all" sort of attitude about them. And what would the 4th be like without high school marching bands and clowns and horses and gymnastic clubs and boy scouts and firetrucks parading down the street while children of all ages line the sidewalks and wave and cheer?
Well it would be whole lot like Independence Day was this year. Kind of quiet.
But our thought was that if we can't do what people usually do, then we will do something completely different. So we drove down to Punta Gorda. It's an adorable little town about 45 minutes south of here. On the way we stopped for pizza at a place we've never tried before. Of course, we ordered by cell phone (from the car!) and ate it outside because there was NOBODY else out there. It was good pizza I'm telling ya! Coal Fired pizza is what the sign says. I say, it was yummy.
Then we continued south, up and over the big water and down to the park that runs along the waterfront in the historic district. It's our favourite part of Punta Gorda. There were exactly four other very people there, two sets of two. And all of us politely kept our distance as we walked along.
We admired the sailboats, charming homes, pretty gardens and the gazebo. One of the flowers in particular reminded me of fireworks :) Part of the park was closed off for some reconstruction work so we couldn't get to the pier, dagnabit. But still it was a lovely place to walk.
Eventually we got back in the car and continued on to the Juan Ponce de Leon park, also in Punta Gorda. Not many people there either. Which was fine with us. We walked along the boardwalk through the mangroves and on the teensy white sand beach, read all of the historic signs and called it a day.
By the time we got back home it was getting late enough that we just decided to relax a bit and watch some TV.
Along about 8:30 we began to hear the familiar poppoppop and banging sounds that indicate fireworks are happening somewhere. We kind of suspected that there would still be locals doing their own unofficial firework shows. So we jumped in the car and headed out to find them.
We drove down to the jetty where we could just stand on the rocks with almost nobody around and admire the fireworks going on all around us. On the beaches, in people's back yards, piers, docks and off of boats for heaven's sake's. It was literally a 360 degree view of unsanctioned, unofficial, awesome fireworks.
So let's see, we have lived here for 4 years now. In that time we have seen one official awesome on the beach fireworks show, got drenched by an unexpected and torrential rainstorm that rained out an on the beach fireworks show, traveled for our birthdays, so we were away a different year and now this one where we got to see a very unofficial fireworks show.
I guess our annual Fourth of July tradition isn't all that traditional since we seem to celebrate it differently every year.
How every you celebrated yours I hope you had a great time. And I further hope that next year, maybe things will be a little more, traditional.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.