Peggy waved the pointer finger on her right hand my way and accusingly charged, "You see what you’ve done?"

Before I could think of what the latest might have been, or even come up with an unbelievable, though somewhat believable excuse, the wife continued. "Have you seen it out there? It’s like last Saturday. Worse yet, it’s a real mess, like Black Friday. There’s so much traffic you can’t move. And it’s all your fault. How am I suppose to go shopping?"

"My fault?" Still confused, I nevertheless queried on. "How am I responsible for heavy traffic on the Fourth of July weekend? It was Thomas Jefferson who wrote the Declaration of Independence, not me. I just write the ‘Outtakes’ columns and books."

"You started this whole July 4th mess," she charged. "The antique and classic boat show, the boat parade, and didn’t you join RC Norris to create the Portage Lakes Fireworks Association just to light up the skies every Fourth of July?"

She was now on a roll. "That’s why the crowds are so maddening," she continued. "It’s unreal, Frank. You can’t move. And all because of this monster you created. Can’t you do anything in moderation?"

There seems to be a ring of truth to some of her wild imaginative charges, but only a ring, mind you. For example, if a minimum of 10 boats weren’t registered for the parade, it would be canceled. Lo and behold, after devoting at least one column a month since January to the boat parade, suggesting ideas on how to decorate a boat, the biggest parade we’ve seen in years, more than 40 boats, floated past the home lined shores of the Portage Lakes last Saturday.

With all the heavy duty Caterpillar construction equipment seen dredging the lake bottom of silt and other undesirable, nasty fill ups at the Portage Lakes shores of East Reservoir in Coventry Township the past nine months, Mike Boyle grabbed a page from current events to submit his entry. He captured the judges attention with his life size caterpillar model of the dredge, complete with a long scoop. Imaginative, clever and with a winning slogan, "PLX Excavators - We Dig The Lakes," Mike took first place in the 43rd annual boat parade.

A wide array of themes were used to decorate boats. From the ever ready Coventry Comets vessel to the titanic sinking, complete with lifeboat, to a "Bad To The Bone" boat, the crowds cheered their approval as the boat parade floated across the lakes.

After the sandcastle building contest was finished, a lull, designed to give the celebrators of freedom ample time to participate in a good old fashioned all-American cook out, one of the best pyrotechnic shows ever, lit the skies.

Launched from Mason’s Point at the east end of the State Park beach, and synchronized with music over THE SUMMIT - 93.1 FM radio, it burst upon the scene in front of literally thousands who came to watch the annual show, and it continued for a full 35 minutes.

Dano Mundy and his gang of "who knows how many now," created what seems to be a 35 minute grand finale with one rocket exploding right after the other. It included a finale and just when you thought it was finished they hit you with a grand finale, the likes of which would have made Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and even Ben Franklin themselves more proud to be Americans.

For all the good this group does, a bit of improvement could help with their public relations. This column sent a timely request, asking for the names of all the winners, their home locations and what they won. Unfortunately, they lack a press secretary who knows exactly what each hand is doing. And because of that, information doesn’t get to the proper people. Hopefully, this will be corrected in future events.

As for 2018, the crowds hugging the shorelines, watching the parade and the fireworks extravaganza, came away, once again, satisfied and proud to be an American.

And loving it each and every year, Peggy was now thrilled that a monster was created.

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