Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Happy 4th

So this Friday is the Fourth of July.
I like the Fourth of July. Sort of.
Some things I like. Some I don't.

I am petrified of firecrackers. One time my friends and I went to a party at this kids house.
Not that it has anything to do with this story, but we were at Phillip Phillips house. OK, why would Phillip's parents call him Phillip if his last name was Phillip. Did they like the name Phillip that much? I mean, really.

Anyway, we were at his party and someone threw a firecracker under our table and it went off on my leg. Scary for me. I hate the damn things.

However, I do like Fireworks. But every dog I've had in my life hates them.

Fast forward about 25 years.
We had just moved to Sherrod St. and we had people over to watch the fireworks from Arsenal Park. We had gotten Harriet, an Old English Sheepdog, about 8 months prior so this was her first Forth of July with us.
Harriet never needed a leash and would just lay on our front porch all day. Sometimes, she would take a walk down to Tomasina's to see if one of the kids dropped anything good on the floor. Other than that, she was on her own. Usually guarding our house.
When the fireworks started, we were all oooohhhhing and ahhhhhing. When they were over, we noticed Harriet was no where to be found.
I took a walk out front to see if she took a walk up the street. First stop is two doors up. I ask if Harriet was there, they say no, but they saw her walking up the street about fifteen minutes prior.
So I go to the next neighbor I see, they said same thing, she went that way.
Let me just say that at first, I didn't think this was odd because Harriet was allowed to walk up and down the street, so no one thought anything of it. But the further away I got, the more nervous I got.
I finally get to the end of the street. The people there were having a big party. I didn't see anyone I knew, but ask if any of them have seen an Old English Sheepdog. They pointed up the street and said she was running up 44th Street.
So I run up the hill. I'm thinking, did Harriet run away? Then I realize, she was afraid of the fireworks. They were really right over our house. I figured out where she was going. She was going to the only place that she always felt safe.
Her favorite place. The cemetery.

By the time I realize this,I am so far away from home I can't turn back.

I continue asking everyone I see and they are telling me the same thing. She is about 15 minutes ahead of me.

Oh my God, this crazy dog knew how to get in after hours and was running toward Garfield to get in the gate at Allegheny.

This was before cell phones, so I find a phone booth on Penn Ave. and call Dan to fill him in on what is happening. He gets a ride to the bottom gate and goes in the cemetery.
I, on the other hand, am hysterical by this point. I then flag down a bus going up Penn and jump on it. It was right in front of St. Francis Hospital. I didn't have any money to pay. So I'm sure they thought I was escaping from the East Wing, if you know what I mean!
I then look toward the gate at St. Mary's Cemetery and there she is. Good Ol Harriet, shaking like a leaf. On the inside of the cemetery. That smart dog knew how to get in the cemetery after hours.Ran through Allegheny to the little hole in the fence that she and Dan always snuck through. Got into St Mary's.All in the pitch dark. Amazing.
Some young kid from the party I passed climbed over that huge wrought iron fence and handed her over to me. By the way, the whole party that I walked past on the end of my street, followed me to try to help find her. I didn't even know them.
How nice.

In the meantime, Dan didn't know we found her and was walking through the cemetery, crying, yelling "Harriet" at the top of his voice.
I'm sure people were thinking HE escaped from the east wing, crying for his dead wife or something.

Other July 4th recollections:
My poor, poor cousin Georgie from out there in Shalervile.
Every year as small children all us cousins, aunts and uncles would cram into my Grandmother's three room house to watch the fireworks.Of course we were never allowed to go to the park, where every other kid in Lawrenceville watched them. Marie, Harriet and Babe thought that would be far too dangerous......... and yes, I said three rooms.
What, you don't think 20 or so screaming kids and 8-10 adults can't fit into a three room house. Let me just say, they can't. She only had an 8 x 10 yard for cryn' out loud.

But we didn't know any different, and we all had a blast.
All of us but poor cousin Georgie.(The Second Favorite)

One time, when George was about 10 months old, he mush have cried when he watched the fireworks. So my mother, aunt and grandmother in all their wisdom, locked the poor kid in the bathroom of a three room house-- every July 4th for the next 15 years.

No wonder the poor kid cried, he was locked in a bathroom with a crazy lady who just happened to be our grandmother.I don't think he ever got over this.
That and the horses at parades.
Whole other story for another post.

My cousins, brother and sister and I have enough emotional scaring from those three to make a lot of psychologists very rich.

On another Fourth of July, my father and uncle took the boys over to the afternoon baseball games at the park. It must have been 1968 or 69 because my brother and cousin Danny came running over Davison St. screaming that there was an assassination.
The real story, Mr. Hollaran got hit with a firecracker and fell. I think they heard the bang and saw him fall and let their imaginations take over and ran. It was the 60's after all, and things were tense. Not that tense, but tense none the less..

This post is getting too long, I didn't even get a chance to tell you all about the time my father sat on a sparkler and burned his butt.
Oh well, next time.
I will be watching the fireworks in Pittsburgh this year. Sigh. Every year I watch "Capitol Fourth" on WQED and say to myself or whoever is around "Next year I'm going back to DC for Fourth of July."
What amazing fireworks.
Yeah, here I sit.
In Pittsburgh!

Happy 4th all!!!!
Tomorrow we are going back to Sunnyledge.
Minus the Sissy LaLa!!!!See you all 'round 8.


Judi said...

Hey Eileen! Be sure to visit my blog (you can bring your angry friends too)....I'm having a shoe giveaway! Yes, the shoe whore is sharing her bounty! If you win, I know they will become your fav Thursday night footwear!

Good Luck!

Judi said...

I was there in 75 at St. Vincent.....did you see me? I had a red beret on (I swear!)
Have dragged the kids for the past few years to see's a family holiday.