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Monday, July 05, 2004


We took advantage of our new location over the weekend, walking downtown to see the city fireworks on Friday night, and again the next morning to go to Market.

Took the dogs and some cold drinks with us on Friday night. Ten or fifteen minutes of straightforward, but hardly brisk, walking brought us to Musser Park, within a block or so of where the city was setting off its show. (Thanks to the advanced boyhood of our mayor, the city does its fireworks shows over the downtown. This pleases nearly everyone, aside from the usual local cranks. They can be found out on their roofs with brooms and garden hoses ready for whatever stray piece of ash may come floating down their way.)

We discovered, much to our delight and to the dogs' distress, that fireworks in a downtown area make a hell of a racket. As soon as the first blasts went off, the beagle was up in Jen's lap, and the cocker spaniel was trying to run under a bush. This from dogs who routinely try to take on pit bulls twice their size. We gave it a few minutes, thinking they might adjust, but Rusty was still scrambling and pulling at his leash, and Watson by this time had found my lap, and was busily trying to burrow his head under my arm.

So we backed up about a block, stood in the street in front of Molly's Pub and watched most of the show from there, or as we slowly walked backwards down Chestnut Street. This was evidently more satisfactory to the dogs. The cocker was his usual obnoxious self, pulling this way and that. The beagle faced away from the display, sitting with his tail between his legs, as though he'd been scolded by one of us.

Next year, we go alone.

On Saturday, we walked down to Market, as I said before. It was hot and bright and sticky, but a breeze was blowing, which made it bearable.

We dropped ten bucks on fruits and vegetables in the first five minutes, then wandered the stalls for the next half hour, maybe spent another dollar. Our big joke now is that we're going to have to start taking book bags along with our market totes, because we stopped at Chestnut Street Books, our favorite used bookstore, on the way home. There was another fifteen or twenty bucks down the drain. We regret nothing. I picked up Robert Graves' I, Claudius, which so far lives up to its reputation, and also the collected sayings of Dorotheos of Gaza, which I've been meaning to get for a while now. Jen bought two Barbara Kingsolvers and a John Irving. It's all good.

We took a breather in Musser Park again, drank some sodas, then faced up to the longer walk home through the oppressive mid-afternoon sun. Later on, we took the boys for an evening constitutional, and went out a third time to the supermarket down the street for fixings for a barbecue at some friends' house on Sunday. After all this walking, we're feeling nice and trim. It almost balances out all the crap we eat. Almost.

I just received e-mail from the buddy whose house we were at on Sunday. He and another friend, a cool Mennonite publicist/photographer, went to hear the Fountains of Wayne downtown on Sunday night. Apparently I am a wuss for not going. This disturbs me not at all. After all the walking on Saturday, and all the sitting out in the pea soup Sunday afternoon, I was ready to crash that night. I'm sure we'll have plenty of other opportunities to catch a show downtown. After all, this is one happening city these days.

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