My Favorite & Least Favorite Fourth of Julys

Happy Fourth of July everyone!  It’s going to be “hotter than a firecracker” out there today as temperatures near 100° and the heat index reaches 110°.  Well, technically firecrackers and sparklers can burn to more than 1800-3000°+, so it’s just hot today!

Whether you choose to check out fireworks (we saw some of Red, White, & Boom last night on our walk), have a barbecue, sit by the pool, go swimming, or just relax under the air conditioning, enjoy your day.

I declared my independence from the clock and stayed in bed today until 9 a.m., thus the blog is late.  I’m such a radical!

For my blog today, I’m lifting something that I wrote a few years back when most of you didn’t know me or know me as intimately.  I took it from my “Weather or Not with Anthony Peoples” blog on July 4, 2008, which in part was first posted on my Myspace page.  What is that??  I did check yesterday and I still have an account. 🙂

As you read it, keep in mind that this was written four years ago and Miss ABBA was still with me.  Boy, where does the go?   The little girl went to “puppy heaven” five months ago yesterday!

This blog is about my personal favorite and least favorite Fourth of July holidays.

For me, neither one requires any thought.

“My favorite Independence Day is, without much doubt, probably one of your favorites.

Back in 1976, the United States was celebrating its 200th birthday, its bicentennial.

As a kid, I was mesmerized with the sight of hundreds of boats from the U.S. and other countries filling New York Harbor and with the sound of “Fernando” by ABBA blasting on the radio.  (It’s hard to believe that just one month later, ABBA would release “Dancing Queen”!)

No other Fourth of July comes close for me as positively memorable.

On the other hand, no other Fourth of July comes close as the worst Independence Day than last year’s.

To reflect back on that day, here’s an edited version of my blog entry on my Myspace page from July 4, 2007:

“Turn Around…Don’t Drown!”

That’s an expression meteorologists use to warn people of how dangerous flood waters are.  It only takes about six inches of water to sweep a person off their feet, one foot of water to make a car buoyant, and only two feet of water on the roads to raise the car and sweep it away.

My Fourth of July this year turned out to be a nightmare and definitely no holiday.

As I was heading into work today for the morning show, it started pouring rain.  I only live three minutes from the station, but by the time I arrived, it was coming down in buckets.

I had my key ready to quickly open the door, but as I was running toward the door, my keys flew out of my hands and went underwater.  I got to the door and banged and banged, but no one heard it.  (Considering it was 1:45 am and on the opposite side of the building from the newsroom.)

I dug through my bag and found my spare keys to the car.  By this time, I was totally drenched and drove to the other side of the building and this time one of the producers heard me and opened the door.

I was soaked to the bone and told them I was running home to change into another suit and I’d be back.

I left the station and drove down 19th Avenue, which is a major stretch in the city.  As I am driving down the street, the torrential rains continued to fall, but it wasn’t accumulating excessively.  However, seconds later as I drove through the intersection at 12th Street, a wall of water came crashing into the intersection.

In a matter of seconds, real-time seconds, my car stalled and died as water quickly came up to the door.  At the same time, three other cars met the same fate that mine did.

I quickly thought about the power in the car and if it shorted, I would be locked inside and there was no way I was going to drown getting trapped in my car on a busy street in town.  (I had a Jessica Savitch flashback moment.  For those of you that don’t know who her, she is/was one of my idols.  She was a news anchor, the ‘Golden Girl’ of  NBC news, back in the late 1970s.  She drowned in an overturned car in a flooded ravine back in 1983!)

As I took my shoes and socks off and opened the door and stepped out into the raging waters, three intoxicated teenagers came running through the water and helped me push my car into an alley.

At this time, I was soaked and water had already risen into the intersection up to my knees.  I went back and helped the kids push the other three cars to safety.

I walked the fifteen blocks to my house dressed in a suit, soaking wet, and bare-footed.

Once I arrived home, ABBA was freaking out because of the thunder and I showered and dressed again for work, since no one could be reached to work for me.  It’s a miracle that I made it back in time to get all of my weather graphics done and be on the air by 5 am.

I now have three large blisters on the bottom of my feet from walking home on the pavement.  Although they are sore, I am happy that I didn’t step on anything and cut my feet to allow all kinds of bacteria floating in the water to make me sick!

As a meteorologist, I have never encountered the force of raging water and now I know first hand, just where “flash flooding” gets its name.  It only took two or three seconds for the water to come out of nowhere and submerge cars.

When all was said and done, we saw three to six of inches of rain in just a couple of hours across four of our counties.

It was a very weird feeling walking those fifteen blocks and feeling so alone.  A special thank you to Jenny Butler, who picked me up and drove me back to work.  Also, thanks to my neighbors, Rick and Kris Lively for driving me back over one more time to check the car and for the pizza, salad, and the three glasses of wine to get over that horrible day!)”

As it turned out, the engine was hydro-locked and it had to be replaced.  As you know from reading the blog this May, the car would be totaled in Chicago when another car crashed into me and ABBA on Lake Shore Drive.

I am planning a very uneventful Fourth of July this year (2008) watching movies and vegging out on the couch with ABBA.  Although we’ll spend some time outdoors, the first firecracker that she hears will send us indoors! “


2 responses to this post.

  1. WOW..I hope your fourth this year is totally are sooo lucky that you were not hurt in 2007..I bet some of that rain would be welcome right now in the QC and surrounding areas..I got up at 6 this morning, looked outside to clouds and recently rained on dirt in the backyard..went out front and street was wet..Monsoon moisture that will make us mostly hot and humid, with little rain..good day to stay indoors…and I pray that people will take care of their pets today as so many of them fear the fireworks just like our precious ABBA did..if we go out for a while to get a bite to eat, we will lock the dogs in the house and put the door in the doggy door to keep them in. Safer then, never know if a gate is accidently left unlocked…stay safe you guys but have fun!


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