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Celebrating Independence Day
Stuff 'n Nonsense 7-10-24

By the time you read this, the last remnants of the Fourth of July festivities will have been cleared from the streets, and hopefully, no one was rushed to the emergency room holding onto a mangled digit from a small explosion.

What was I doing on the Fourth of July? That’s easy — I took a nap. Well, I did other things too. I went to the gym, wrote a few chapters, then took a nap in a quiet house.

Get ready to clutch your pearls, but I’m not a huge fan of the Fourth of July. I don’t understand why California doesn’t ban all fireworks (hello, every year California nearly burns down, why would we sanction fire hazards?).

Growing up in a county where fireworks were banned, I was flabbergasted by all the pyrotechnics happening in the suburbs when I moved to Stanislaus County.

I don’t enjoy the explosions. The sound hurts dogs’ ears, gives some veterans flashbacks to traumatic times, and the acrid smell of sulfur gives me a headache. And, while I know that many nonprofits operate fireworks booths, those fireworks packages are highway robbery.

When my kids were small, I used to cringe as the Fourth of July approached because the budget just didn’t stretch enough to include much more than a few sparklers and a handful of ear killers. So, yeah, not a fan. I’ve never really understood the fascination with blowing things up.

Now, squishing things with a hydraulic press? That’s fascinating. Also, magnet fishing sounds like fun, but that’s a topic for a different column.

Today, I’m just happy to grit my teeth through another Fourth of July as illegal explosions light up the night sky, thankful I no longer have to buy fireworks for little kids.

I enjoy perusing social media and seeing how everyone spent their holiday but for me, staying cool in this triple digit heat takes precedence over everything else. Summer is my least favorite season and I’m counting down the days before fall returns, the leaves change color, and with it, cooler days and nights prevail.

With that said, I hope your Fourth of July was everything you hoped it would be — and you still have all of your fingers.


Kim Van Meter is a former full-time reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News; she continues to provide a monthly column. She can be reached at