The Backyard

ANYWHERE, USA - Look, I'm a patriot. I like beer. And having mostly overcome a scarring childhood incident involving a bottle rocket, the San Francisco police, and a hefty insurance claim by a downstairs neighbor, I like fireworks again. So don't get the wrong idea when I tell you to stay home on the Fourth of July. But for God's sake, do stay home. Something like 41 million Americans will celebrate by going somewhere, making this the busiest travel period of the summer. Even if you're the kind that digs the woozy high of flirt-flirt honking as your convertible crawls through a carbon monoxide haze—which, I think, makes you a high schooler—consider that July 4 is traditionally the deadliest day of the year on our nation's roads. The second-deadliest? July 3. And anyway, I've devised the ultimate at-home party: a few friends, lots of beer, barbecue (see The Guide, page 65), and a kiddie pool. You can add bottle rockets—just don't shoot any into the neighbor's window.

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