July 8, 2012

Reveling in family fun and Fourth fireworks


---- — For us, this has turned out to be the super summer of the family picnic, and I’m lovin’ it. 

It seems that almost every weekend was already penciled in with a filial function of some sort by the middle of June. At this time of year, we try extra hard to slow the clock to a crawl in order to savor the good times. It’s not easy when the season is so short and life becomes a whirlwind.

For our burgeoning Little and Baker clan, there’s a lot to love. Over the years, we’ve come to cherish the holidays and any other times when our far-flung family can meet for special occasions or no occasions at all. We consider ourselves so very fortunate and, in spite of individual personalities and dispositions, we take these moments to embrace and enjoy the interaction.

Such was the case last weekend on beautiful Chazy Lake. Our daughter Diane and her husband, Roger Wright, entertained our large group in fine fashion. The weatherman added tons of sunshine, and we added tons of homemade food. Of course, Roger supplied the clams, and I stood very close to the grill with my little plastic fork and container of real melted butter. My, oh my. My palate is easily pleased, and it was certainly happy that day.

We’re doubly lucky in this part of the country because Canada Day and July Fourth come so close together. It gives us the opportunity of sharing the good times with our neighbors to the north, and we do so gladly. 

This brings me to a question that, at least for me, has no easy answer. Should we or should we not legalize fireworks for individuals without permits in this state once again? The jury is still out. New York state passed a law last year allowing sparklers once again, but it was vetoed by the governor.

It’s doubly difficult for me to offer an opinion. I was brought up with no ban on fireworks. My brother Jim and I saved our money all year to send for a large variety box and delighted in setting them off on and around the Fourth of July. Of course there were always injuries elsewhere, but our family remained unscathed. Many thousands of people go to emergency rooms around the country each year with injuries suffered from fireworks. About half of those involve people younger than 20 years of age.

Should we revert to the old days and legalize all fireworks in our state, or should we start with sparklers and keep a close watch on the results? I’ll reserve my opinion until I hear from our readers. 

Sadly, we lost both of our dogs due to old age and illness last year. We miss them so much. However, we don’t miss our big white Kia’s reaction to fireworks and thunder. He became completely unglued with the explosion of even a small firecracker in the neighborhood at this time of year. And, when a thunder and lightning storm approached, I had no recourse but to get him prone on the floor next to the couch and hold my hand on his head to comfort him while I tried to get some rest.

Guss the English bulldog? Not so much. As he grew older, his hearing diminished and, unlike Kia, he didn’t even leap up and howl when the fire siren rang at the station next door to our Morrisonville home.

Something else I didn’t see much of again this year was neighborhood kids weaving red, white and blue streamers through the spokes of their bicycles to transfer them into rolling American flags up and down the streets and in the holiday parades.

Sometimes I pine for the old days when the land of the free was a lot freer than it is now. But, I suppose that’s just the old man in me trying to relive his youth.

I hope you and your family also got together for picnics and homecomings and had a fine Fourth.

Have a great day and please, drive carefully.

Gordie Little was for many years a well-known radio personality in the North Country and now hosts the “Our Little Corner” television program for Home Town Cable. Anyone with comments for him may send them to the newspaper or email him at