Monday, January 2, 2017

The Square Peg - Happy New Year - We Had a Blast!



The Square Peg - Happy New Year - We Had a Blast!
© S. Bradley Stoner



2016 is in the books. Yes sir, we are free from all those political ads, the political robocalls, and the pleas for money... except maybe for those save the whatever folks. You know, the ones with the simpering woman or a sad-eyed puppy, or that sappy guy pleading with you to contribute, “...only 60 cents a day, that’s only 18 dollars a month...” They’ll even send you a picture and a T-shirt. I got to wondering just how much it would cost a person if they answered all of those supplications. Turns out it’s more than most people make, and it would put your grandma, living on a fixed income, out on the street. The upside to that is that those professional pleaders would have one more cause with which they could accost your wallet. Sigh.

Lest you get the idea that I’m a skinflint as well as a curmudgeon, let me set the record straight. Our family has contributed to charities of one sort or another all of our lives, sometimes when we really couldn’t afford it. We do it anonymously. We don’t take it off our taxes. And we don’t want recognition. So, keep your pictures, your T-shirts, your brochures, and the fees you pay your pitchmen... the money you spend on those would go a long way to helping whatever or whoever you’re trying to help.

Well, heck fire! That took a left turn from what I wanted to write about. Don’t you hate it when your fingers ignore your brain and wander off on their own? If I hadn’t done that all of my life, I’d be worried that I might have lost a marble or two. Not the case. I’m fine, thank you very much! And HAPPY TEXAS NEW YEAR, y’all! Yessiree Bob, we birthed 2017 with a bang, and we had a blast doing it!

First off I need to note that San Antonio passed an Ordinance prohibiting the shooting of fireworks inside the city limits, unless of course you obtain a permit for a special event... a year in advance. (I don’t know if the latter is true, but it seems reasonable given the time it takes to get any kind of a permit down here). So, of course everyone in the neighborhood went down and got the proper paperwork... NOT. This is the South (and yes I capitalized it) and, most importantly, it’s Texas! That’s a double-whammy on the rebel thing. Second, 2016 was a remarkably wet year... we got 57 inches of rain. Couple that with the 77 inches we got in 2015 and... well, let’s just say the fire danger is nil.

Soooo.... Yep, the smoke hung heavy over the city. A feller could hear pops and booms from near and far starting at sundown. Anxious kids, I suppose. Let’s face it, the serious, hardcore powder men don’t start cranking it up until about eleven thirty, building to a crescendo at midnight. Bingo Bob wasn’t alone this year... he had lot’s of company. I began to wonder if I had missed some bulletin announcing a competition. Bob told me later that no such thing had happened. He did say he met several of our neighbors out at the fireworks stand. From the results of that, I’m betting those little stands made enough to send their owners on vacation until the end of June... getting them back just in time to sell more boomers for the Fourth of July.

Since it was a balmy 70 degrees in good old San Antonio, we spent a lot of the evening outside. We celebrated the incoming year with surf and turf. Yep, they had those sea going cockroaches and steaks on sale at the local supermarket. We splurged. Grilled steak and lobster... a little piece of heaven right here in Texas. Then we sat back in our deck chairs to watch the show as things started to heat up around 11:30. Somebody would fire an artillery shell and a red starburst would bloom above our house. Then somebody else would fire one and a shower of golden trailers would pop and sputter. We were surrounded. Those suckers were coming from every point on the compass.

Around two minutes to midnight, they all cut loose with a barrage of star shells that kept up a continuous din until about five after. It was AWESOME! It drowned out Winona Whiner who, if she ran true to form, was threatening to call the police because the racket was scaring the crap out of her Peekapoo. She would have probably had a heart attack if she knew that there were tell-tale smoke trails that appeared to be coming from the Constable’s driveway. I won’t swear they were, but... a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, don’t you think?

Yes sir, it’s going to be a good year!