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MuskokaONline.com News - #GOTLOCAL



Posted: 2022-07-04 14:27:32 By: thebay

A belated Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian readers, and to all my friends and relatives stateside, a Happy 4th of July! Like many of my aging contemporaries, my tastes have mellowed over the years. I prefer peace and quiet to the noisy celebrations and omnipresent explosions. I have grown used to quiet, because for 8 or 9 months of the year, we have this place fairly well to ourselves. Then comes summer, and the cacophony of motorboats towing gleeful children around the lake. While I still enjoy a good fireworks display, I am more mindful than I used to be of the trauma that fireworks and loud explosions present to wildlife and other animals. That of course includes household pets. Our miniature schnauzer, Sydney, while not visibly afraid of the explosions, becomes quite vociferous when she hears the noise. This past weekend, Sydney was barking a lot. For some who dislike fireworks, the issue is fire danger. The fact is, there will always be those who are irresponsible with fireworks.

Years ago, when I still lived in Buffalo, and we still had a summer home on the Canadian shore of Lake Erie, everyone up and down the beach lit fireworks on Canada Day and The Fourth of July. One year, our neighbours accidentally lit their tree on fire by lighting a fireworks "pinwheel" that they had foolishly nailed to said tree. That very nearly caused a much bigger disaster. I, and my friends, used to motor into Buffalo by boat for the annual 4th of July fireworks celebration. It was always a well-attended event; fireworks look even better from a boat on the water. Of course, there were always a few bad apples at those shows who came to cause trouble. One particular year, the party in the Buffalo harbour got very much out of control. With many hundreds of boats moored in or near the Buffalo ship canal, a few inebriated boaters started shooting fireworks at other boats. Needless to say, fireworks, alcohol, and boating are a bad combination, and the police boats were overwhelmed trying to tame the chaos. At one point, one of the scofflaws fired a Roman Candle at a passing police boat, and that did not go over well at all. Many of the drunken perpetrators were unsuspectingly moored directly in the (well-marked) shipping lane, and while the police couldn’t tame the havoc, as fate would have it, The Miss Buffalo tour boat did. As it came motoring through, full of passengers, it smashed into many of the clueless instigators, catching up their moorings and causing them to smash into each other. As 10 or 20 of those drunken party boats dragged helplessly behind The Miss Buffalo, trying desperately to cut their mooring lines to free themselves from her stern, all the law-abiding spectators (like us), who had endured their stupidity, cheered and honked our horns in a collective holler of cathartic glee. That was almost as entertaining as the fireworks display.

My other anecdote about fireworks concerns a Canada Day display that Shauna and I attended in Banff, Alberta many years ago. Those displays were carried out by professionals, but someone screwed up the sequence, and shortly after the display began, they accidentally lit the grand finale. Needless to say, that made the rest of the display seem a little anticlimactic.

I don’t have strong feelings about fireworks one way or another. I understand the people who are against them for any one of the reasons covered above. Still, I enjoy a well-choreographed, professionally-conducted show, preferably accompanied by music. Like anything that, in the wrong hands can be dangerous, fireworks should be handled in a responsible fashion. That certainly rules me out and those drunken boaters in Buffalo. Again, I hope you all had a happy, lonnng holiday weekend, however you chose to celebrate it.


Written by Jamie Oppenheimer ©2022 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED