Be Careful!

It’s here. The Fourth of July. But this year there’s a catch. All kinds of commotion swirls around Town Hall and Mayor Beauregard Fibbs in downtown Shady Pines Story Town.

Lack of rain and near drought conditions have put restrictions on this year’s celebrations. Employees scurry from office to office.

They have to find ways to let their neighbors know what they can and can’t do on the Fourth.

Join The Parade

The good news is that the Big ‘Ole Barbeque in Stonewall Park is still on the schedule for the afternoon. Tents and tables will be up and loads of great food and cold drinks will be available.

The Soda Fountain in Nuts ‘N Bolts Hardware store is always a gathering place between events.

And the parade down Main Street kicks off at 9am like always. You gotta see it for yourself. It’s a hoot!

Fireworks Could Backfire

At the top of the list of concerns this holiday – fireworks. Because of the dry conditions those colorful blasts can be a fire hazard. So only the official fireworks display over Lake Shady Pines will be allowed this year. The fire department will be on hand to make sure everyone stays safe.

There’s another issue sparking concern. Even though everyone who lives here is being discouraged from using sparklers at their houses we know some will do it anyway.

That’s why messages about fireworks safety need to go out soon. There’s so much to do!

Mayor Beauregard P. Fibbs sits at his big wooden desk in his office at City Hall and answers one phone call after another. He gets more frustrated by the minute. Finally, he calls for his assistant.

“Beth,” he shouts, “Will you come in here please!”

A moment later a tall young woman appears in the mayor’s doorway. Beth Dowd has been the mayor’s assistant since graduating from college three years ago. “How can I help?”

Mayor Fibbs gets up and starts to pace back and forth. “Beth, there’s not much time. We need to get our arms around this Independence Day situation.”

Beth can see that the mayor is really upset. “I completely agree. Here’s the good news. The planning committee is meeting downstairs right now. They’re working on getting the word out.”

Remember Pets and Vets

As he paces with his hands clasped together behind his back, the mayor is nodding. “That’s good. You know, this fireworks situation is real. I can’t tell you how many calls I’ve taken from animal rights groups. Don’t folks realize how much our pets get upset by the sound? The poor animals don’t feel safe in their own homes for cryin’ out loud!”

Beth understands. “My dog, Scruffy, runs into the closet and hides at the sound of the first fireworks he hears. He just shakes. It’s really bad.”

Mayor Fibbs is getting worked up. “And another thing. What about our veterans? I just got a call from one of our retired generals. He reminded me these men and women have been to war. The sound of fireworks takes them right back to the battlefield. You talk about upsetting.”

Beth frowns. “Oh, my gosh. That makes sense. I’d never thought about that before.”

Mayor Fibbs has an idea. “Beth, call over to The Shady Pines Gazette newspaper office, will you? Ask Zulah and Scoop if they can come over here.”

Beth claps here hands. “That’s perfect. They can do a story and spread the word. I’m on it.”

As Beth leaves, the mayor returns to his desk. He knows what he wants to say in the interview he is about to give. Besides safety for pets and veterans on the Fourth of July, he wants safety for children included in the story as well.

A Final Word

“We all need to pay attention to the needs of others and be sure the most vulnerable among us are protected,” he says out loud. “Compassion should never take a holiday.”

And that’s cause for celebration in the small Southern town of Shady Pines!

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