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Escaping The Boom
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The safe and sane firework booths are up and running. Moms, dads, grandparents and youth will line up at the box like structures ready to empty their wallets and buy Fourth of July celebration wares.

From what I understand it’s a great fundraiser for a lot of local sports teams and other not for profit groups. We’ve had our fair share of fun from the good ol’ booths. It was quite the affair in our previous neighborhood. Well, that is except for one minor problem … My kids hate the ‘boom.’

This is the time when many start making preparations and special accommodations for their pets. It’s a well-known fact that the boom and high pitch scream of the safe and sane have adverse effects on our loyal and beloved pets.

Last year I had to accept my human children need to be placed into this category.

Prior to last year they would be present for the non-threatening portion of the fun. Fireworks in the way of snakes, sparklers and even a flower or two worked just fine for them. The screamers however, piccolo petes and the like, sent them running – literally.

My daughter had her fun often watching from a bedroom window, the sound was just too much.

I grew up with a little bit of both, well, sort of. When I was young firecrackers were still being thrown into streets often in brick form. Cherry bombs were dropped as a person would walk through the ‘display.’

The good news is, despite all of this and not wearing a seatbelt in a car full of passengers, I lived to share about it.

Then came the firework display shows. This was a big, beautiful and fun deal in our neighboring Foster City back in the day. A day long picnic, situated on the water, with blankets, sweatshirts, family and friends in tow. Truly a special event for those of us who lived in the area.

We used to frequent the one in Ripon, as well. Back in the day before Mistlin, when you’d sit in the field of a school playground.

So last year, this seemed to be the best idea I could muster for my sound sensitive people. Ironically, it does not affect our cat or dog, but the kids … different story.

We spent the day in the City playing and at the Exploratorium and then made it to Ghirardelli square to secure a seat for the ‘big’ show. Our great seats were not held for long once the light spectacular filled the sky. The boom just too much for my youngest.

That night on the way home, both kids passed out and content with a day of fun, rather than a night of watching things blow up, I resolved to what is my reality.

‘I just don’t have firework kids,’ I texted to a girlfriend the next morning. ‘Who says we have to blow things up to show our patriotism anyway? What a crazy thing that I felt compelled to do, like everyone else.’

This year we will spend the day, the night and the weekend surrounded by those we love. Grateful for our freedoms to splash in a pool, eat whatever we want, whenever we want, likely clad in red, white and blue clothing. That’s really about it and that (for me) is enough.

For the readers who flock to the booths, please be safe. Please reconsider the large purchase of fireworks versus just leaving a cash donation. This year we are plagued by a severe lack of water, let’s not forget that. Foregoing 30 minutes of joy in the way of safe and sane, could benefit us later this summer when our rescue crews are trying to preserve valued land.

Happy Independence Day!


Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.