Have you been saddened about not having an Antique Boat Show? Fretting about celebrating a Fourth of July here in the Portage Lakes without a boat parade? Stewed about not having a Sand Castle Building contest at the state park beach?


Disillusioned about missing one of the largest privately funded firework extravaganzas east of the Mississippi (and possibly the biggest in the state of Ohio) to watch from the water this July Fourth?


Well wipe those crocodile tears from your eyes, folks, and stop feeling sorry for yourself. You can still have a great Fourth for yourself and family, and perhaps a few neighbors. Just make sure your group total doesn't exceed the State's suggested social distancing policy of 10. Other neighborhoods, and small towns will be celebrating – or have plans to – and, as part of your home area, you can too.


Actually, when you think about it, we here in the Portage Lakes have quite an advantage over others. We have waterfront homes. And unless others, living in neighborhoods close by, leave their garden hoses running, it would be most difficult for them to make that claim. For us, there is no reason, save for social distancing, why an we can't string balloons, or multi-colored crepe paper streamers, or a combination of both, or any kind of decorations on our boats, relax and slowly cruise the placid waters of these wonderful lakes.


As long as there is no violation of social distancing policies (wearing your face masks, having no more than a group of 10 to a boat or remaining six feet apart) you should be able to cruise the lakes safely this Fourth of July and continue parading past homes, honking your boat horns and waving at passing boats and residents just as you would if you were in a boat parade.


And then to top that "cake" with icing and a big red cherry, hopefully, after last week's column, there will be plenty of lakefront residents displaying luminaries along the shore. In doing so, they make slow cruises during the evening hours even more relaxing and possibly romantic. For those few who live along the lakefront and missed last week's column on how to make luminaries, it's simple.


All you need are white paper sandwich bags, enough sand to fill each bag with two inches and a small votive candle for each bag. After filling the bags with sand and pressing the candle in the middle, set them between six and eight feet apart along the shore. Between 9:15 and 9:30 in the evening (about dusk), light each votive candle. Don't worry about the paper bag catching fire. It won't. And when the three hour candle is finished burning, either the sand will extinguish the flame or it'll burn itself out.


In the meantime you will be joining all your waterfront neighbors in lighting up the shoreline with warm, soft glowing, flickering lights shimmering off the slow moving waters of the lakes. It's a scene that, unless you've been in a boat and have seen it, casts no doubts about the ambience it creates.


A word of caution, however. If you are indulging in alcoholic beverages, please stay away from the wheel of the boat. DUI is DUI whether it is from behind the wheel of a boat, car, motorcycle or any motorized vehicle. And that includes empty containers of alcoholic beverages aboard the vessel. Authorized law enforcement will be out in force both on the roads and on the water.


You can still have a great Fourth of July without the Antique Boat show, the boat parade, the Sand Castle Building contest or the gigantic firework display. Besides, there's always next year.


For this year, enjoy the Fourth with what we have. And above all, stay safe. Don't drink and boat.


Comments may be emailed to: Frankweaverjr@aol.com