You know you are going to have a good time when you spend your Independence Day in a town called Crouch. Crouch, ID was my summer home the years I was guiding and it had all the charm of a little mountain town with a hardware store, market, a restaurant and a bar called The Dirty Shame. Sounds harmless right? Ha, not on the 4th!
After a good day of guiding in the hot July sun we would load up the thousands of water balloons we had been filling, stack the tallest tower of rafts we could on the trailer and head into Crouch for the best small-town-USA parade/water fight in all of America. Somewhere in between getting families off the river and stacking the boats we would hit some homemade huckleberry vodka, fill our coffee mugs up with homemade beer and cram our pockets with Neighbor Mike’s homemade fire crackers. These are not your normal fire works. They leave craters in the ground and off set your heart rate for a few beats in the blast recoil. (I’m pleased to report that Neighbor Mike still has all his fingers and toes.) This would be about the time the craziness beings.
All the roads come together in the center of town where there is no real way to discern what is the road and what is the parking lot for all the business. This piece of pavement is blocked off, the gas pumps are flagged and the firework free-for-all beings. A movie maker could film an epic disaster secene in the 360 degree of explosions and a few token police try in vein to keep the crowd from shooting fireworks at each other. We would dance late into the night on the beer soaked floor to some live bluegrassy music playing on the restaurant patio. When the smell of sulfur, booze, raft guides, cowboy puke and urine was too much to handle we would stumble a mile back to our raft headquarters. The party would pick up at the shop and every year, like tradition, we would almost ignite the big pine tree with fireworks. This would then, of course, upset our boss and cause his eye to twitch.
I love the 4th of July.