Pat Shingleton: "Memories of 7/4"
Remembering my "younger" years on the 4th of July as Independence Day included a large backyard picnic. Wash tubs, stocked with drinks were chilled from ice house ice blocks. On the grill, foot-long hotdogs and burgers as relatives delivered potato salad, baked beans and casseroles. The cool of the basement, is where Grandpap chilled the watermelon. After participating in a baseball game or a parade, the backyard provided wiffle-ball games, volleyball or touch football. From Longview Drive in Ellwood City, we looked out over a valley of fireworks blasted skyward from the Conquenessing Country Club, the Blue Sky and Spotlight 88 Drive-In Theatres. We'd trek to J and T Frozen Custard Stand to wrap-up the day. Finally, buried in today’s column are five nouns depicting events related to the Fourth of July. On July 4, 1856, E. Meriam, writing for the New York Times, noted that over 67 consecutive years, rain had fallen on thirteen Independence Days. It was 102 degrees on July 4, 1860 and if Madison and Monroe had been in Charleston, South Carolina, they may have learned that eight people died of sunstroke, including two German Fusiliers. A tornado hit Washington, D.C. ripping off roofs for blocks on July 4, 1874. Thomas Jefferson once thought that smoke from fireworks and other explosives could cause rain. On July 4, 1806 an earthquake occurred in Schenectady, New York, along with the rumble of distant thunder.