The weekend of the Fourth was excellent. Better than I’ve had in ages. Highlights:

  • Spending the Fourth with my sister and her husband and my deeeee-lightful niece. Avery has doubled in mass since her birth—a mere two months! She weighs eight pounds now. We’re so proud of her. I pointed out that at this rate she’ll weigh just over eight tons on her second birthday. This is cause for some concern: how do you say “no, you can’t have another cookie” to an eight-ton two-year-old? However, I, being her uncle, will never have to say that to her. During the afternoon, we went to the beach. In the evening, we went down to the Port Jefferson harbor and watched a fireworks display by the Grucci family. In keeping with the Grucci’s world-class reputation, the fireworks were excellent.
  • Driving our rental car onto the Port Jefferson ferry to Bridgeport. Cool, breezy, sunny…a capital way to travel. Sailboats everywhere.
  • Picking up Sarita at the Bridgeport train station and making our way to Mattapoisett, Massachusetts and the Pico Beach house. This is the house in which Bob and John and Cesar and I, and Sari and Paul and Whitney and Kathleen and various other beloved friends, have spent at least one week of each summer for several years. This trip was not that trip, though. We were there for Bob and Whitney’s engagement clambake. We met Whitney’s parents. We ate chowder. We walked on the beach. Then we left.
  • Spending the night at Deb and Kurt’s house in Falmouth, on Cape Cod. Before we even got to the house, we met our hosts at the local trade school—for another fireworks display! Two in one weekend! How cool is that? We stood out in front of the school for a good while, kicking mosquitoes at each other. By the time Deb & Kurt arrived, most of Cape Cod seemed to have driven past us already, headed for the football field. We wondered where we would sit.
    Then we walked back to the field ourselves. For one thing, most of Cape Cod was there. Easily more than a thousand cars—this field was big. Pretty much every kid under the age of eleven had one of those necklaces filled with glowing green liquid. The sun had just set, so we found ourselves on a rise overlooking a field patched with luminous rings and stripes and chains, like a plaza full of space-alien cultists. Then the show began, and our attention was elsewhere. Right over our heads, the sky was spitting and crackling and burning and whizzing and popping and bursting into outrageous flower. It went on and on and on and on. Suddenly it made sense that this immense mob would pack themselves into this campus, prepared to spend an hour or two waiting to drive out again afterwards: they were great. The Gruccis’ show was more expensive-looking, but this one was more fun.
  • Okay, so then we went to Deb and Kurt’s house. Paul and Sari and I got there before our hosts did, so we waited on the front porch. Meanwhile, their three enormous dogs raved at us from the other side of the living-room window. This was the point when we discovered that Sari has a Serious Thing About Big Dogs. She made a few small noises of alarm that were obviously larger noises of alarm being viciously suppressed. Deb and Kurt soon arrived and let us in, and from that point their hostility melted away. Only one of the dogs seemed interested in us at all, actually, and of course it was most interested in Sari. That was König, who isn’t so much a dog as the Beast of the Apocalypse on a three-cola high. König, a Rottweiler, is a behemoth with a manic, natural-catastrophe enthusiasm that suggests that if you don’t scratch him behind his big floppy ears he’ll snap off your hand without really stopping to think about it. Sari maintained her composure admirably, given that we could tell that she was clinging to her sanity by her fingernails. Eventually König was shut up in a bathroom for the night. Sari was much better after that, but she was also very very happy to drive back to the City the next morning.