Things Go Boom, In a Good Way

Home, slightly sunburned and exhausted from an awesome ArsonFest!

This was our fourth (?) ArsonFest, joining my dear friend Mitzi and her friends and family to celebrate Independence Day with shootin', barbecue and watching things go boom in the sky, just like the founders intended. It is always a great honor for me to be included in this annual tradition, and I honestly can't imagine what the Fourth would be like without it.

Shooting was great, and as always we were happy that those who actually own guns let us Illinoisans shoot as well. Ian turned out to be quite good with the 9mm pistol and a .22 rifle. I brought a batch of chocolate chip cookies as our barter for admission to the range.

A brief panic ensued when a sizable squall hit in the late afternoon, and we scrambled to tack down the rainfly on our rental tent. We had put up the tent at 1 a.m. without any familiarity with the tent's design, so I think it was a testament to our (read: Mitzi's) brilliance that we were actually able to get the damn thing up at all. We got the rainfly in place just in time for the storm, and I was highly impressed with its ability to weather the winds and rain. I honestly think in a big storm, we'd probably be safer inside that tent than we would be in the shelter. And not one drop of rain got inside.

Post-barbecue (om nom nom), we watched the fireworks with special guest star Seantaclaus, and we killed a bottle of bourbon. By which I mean Sean and I killed the bottle, with one drink to Jimmy and I think Mitzi abstained. Good thing I don't get hangovers! (Never have, not even on Absinthe Night in 2005.) Ian joined Mitzi's kids to set off the smaller fireworks, and also assisted the grownups with the big fireworks. He survived with his limbs intact, which is no small feat for The Most Accident-Prone Boy in Illinois. (Which is not to say he escaped the weekend uninjured: one dog bite, two cuts and blistered feet. I call it a light day.)

We returned home via REI to return our rental tent, which is now on my Big-Time Want List, and our now-traditional pilgrimage to Bass Pro Shop, where Boy leapt to the kids' fishing clinic. I snuck away for a few minutes while he was catching smallmouth bass, and when we went back out to the car he found a brand-new Brawler fishing rod on his seat. He was over the moon. He and Jimmy spent half the drive talking about going fishing next week.

Now we are home, the gear is unpacked, the icky stuff is being washed and we're taking turns degriming ourselves in the shower. In all, a hell of a weekend. Long live ArsonFest!


  1. We just got back from our annual 2 week camping trip. I beleive it will be our last tent camping trip. In the 20+ years that I've been camping I've only had water get in my tent once (and that was a rookie mistake the first time out). This time, we had a tornado touch down 20 miles away and the heavy rains that hit our area flooded our tents! We went out this weekend and bought a camper! So - I will have camping gear on sale soon - including a few tents that do very well in non-tornado weather! :)


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