As American as Prickly Pear Jelly

by swellsbennett

English: A photo of an a prickly pear cactus, ...

I’ve never been a huge fan of the Fourth of July. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I’m less patriotic than most Americans. I love hamburgers, jello salads, and fireworks as much as most of our populace. Picnics? They are wonderful events…anytime between Labor Day and Memorial Day. And no, I didn’t get that backwards.

The problem with Independence Day is that it occurs at the height of summer: a time that is traditionally better, at least inPhoenix, for frying an egg on the sidewalk than roasting a hotdog on a grill. In addition, the valley is usually pretty dry right around now, adding the potential danger of fireworks displays igniting a firestorm that could take out the entire metropolitan area. “Hey, kids, let’s go cook over a hot grill, get sunstroke, and then tempt fate by sending incendiary devices into the sky over our scorched desert home!” Um…no, thanks.

A year or two ago, the state legislature decided to allow the sale and use of fireworks by the general population. Now, there are restrictions, but I’m not going to bore you with those. What is significant to remember is that either our legislature is largely made up of non-native Arizonans or people with more faith in the intelligence of humanity than humanity deserves. Thankfully, our cities are a little more self-aware: most of them have banned the use of fireworks on private property, in roads, or in public parks. Of course, that won’t stop people from using them anyway, especially since the fireworks are now readily available for purchase, thanks to the legislature.

On the plus side, Phoenix will likely not become a charred hull of itself this Fourth. The skies have opened up and poured down a lovely, soaking rain today that will keep us safe tonight. As for Dan and me, after enjoying a delicious, indoor Rib Fest next door, we will settle down to enjoy A Capitol Fourth on PBS – with no danger whatsoever of sunstroke.

Happy Independence Day!

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