We’ve rounded the corner of spring and now headed into the seventh month of the year, meaning it’s hot as hell, the humidity is over 100% and public indecency cases are at a steady climb.
Summer also means July Fourth, which now is upon us. This means we celebrate Independence Day. July Fourth also means good food, plenty of beer and other adult beverages and fireworks.
For many years, Uncle Dewey hosted his annual July Fourth BBQ and bluegrass concert. Over the years the annual event created many memories, including the sacred bonfire dance incident of 1987 when an intoxicated Uncle Dewey threw a basketball into the roaring bonfire to celebrate the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants’ win over Denver. (We never really knew why he waited until July to celebrate it.)
The resulting explosion accidentally set Uncle Dewey’s dog, Mr. Belvedere, on fire, which resulted in the loss of Officer Bassett’s squad car. Officer Bassett had just arrived to respond to the noise complaint, credited to the North Georgia Rockettes and Bluegrass Band’s second set that somehow managed to sound louder and worse than the first.
Fireworks and a hot dog
Officer Bassett had just parked the car and was addressing the noise complaint, along with his suspicion that his patrol car had a slight gas leak to Eddie Mohaus, who was one of the event’s organizers and who owned the Union 76 station in downtown Jefferson. With a loud “swoosh,” the patrol car burst into flames, throwing a flaming Mr. Belvedere into the retention pond some 15 feet away.
Fortunately, the dog survived with only a slight burn to his back. Later, some of the residents said the burn mark on the dog looked much like Jesus and thereafter celebrated each July Fourth by gathering around the dog and singing various hymns.
Uncle Dewey finally nixed the annual event after the 2003 bottle rocket incident when J.W. Whitlock, sauced on the finest cherry-saturated moonshine Dawson County can offer, locked horns with Uncle Dewey in a “Butt-Cheek Bottle-Rocket Launching Contest.” Unfortunately — and I don’t really know how– but J.W. accidentally got things a bit mixed up, if you know what I mean.
Keep in mind the immortal words of Sgt. Phil Esterhaus from “Hill Street Blues”: “Be careful out there.” Whether you’re on the lake, cooking out, or just hanging out, take some time to remember what Independence Day means to us. And think about those kids in the military who are working on this July Fourth.
And remember: Booze, heat and using body parts to launch bottle rockets is serious business. Take the time to know which end is up.