LeBlanc: Fourth of July is a big boating weekend

The Fourth of July is here already and we have once again passed the half-way mark for another year. As is normal, the days have started to get shorter by about five minutes a day until the winter solstice, which is Dec. 21. For those who have had a limited American History education — even if you went to school here in this country — let me enlighten you as to why July 4th is a holiday.

The Fourth of July is the day we celebrate the American Revolution and our independence as a nation. Independence Day has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day goes back to the 18th Century.

The older I get, the faster time passes and it seems Memorial Day was just a week or two ago and here we are celebrating the Fourth of July. I don’t know where the time has gone but it sure seems like the harder and faster I work the less I get accomplished and the days melt into weeks, months and years and my “Honey do list” just continues to grow.

The weather man is telling us that this weekend we might have a chance of rain, or again, maybe not. So I guess it is a wait and see proposition. As usual I am going forward just like I had good sense and am proceeding with my plans. So what can I say except if you hear thunder seek shelter and not under a tree and if you out boating and there is rain and don’t hear any thunder, have a good time; a little rain never hurt anyone.

I can’t let July 4th pass without at least touching on safety and the “Do unto others” line of thinking and that does not in any way infer “before they do unto you,” but love thy neighbor and look out for him. We can every one use about all of the help we can get and with the coronavirus lurking around who knows where, stay away from crowds and when in doubt wear a mask.

It is very likely that there will be a lot of people enjoying Lake Conroe this weekend so take a double helping of patience and observation with you: the patience for the imbecile who should not own a boat much less drive one, and the observation to make sure you know where every boat is located that could cause you a problem.

Boat launch etiquette is extremely important on holiday weekends. Don’t hog the boat launch. Back down straight and get unloaded and park your truck and trailer as soon as possible and in an orderly manner so someone else can have a turn. Also be sure your boat is ready to go and loaded with your entire payload of food and drinks before you start to back it down the ramp.

I know I tend to beat safety to death, but folks I really want everyone to have one of the best Independence Day celebrations from when they awake until they happily close their eyes and are folded into the arms of Morpheus at the end of the day.

Now I know that many folks enjoy a friendly alcoholic beverage occasionally, but behind the wheel of a vehicle, on land or water, is not the place to imbibe. The heat you will encounter will only increase the effects, aid in dehydration of your bodies, and have serious negative influence on your judgment. That is a formula for disaster! Don’t think it can’t happen to you because every year it happens to many across the state who undoubtedly believe it cannot happen to them.

Anyway, we are all going to celebrate and demonstrate our thankfulness for our forefathers who did have a backbone and declared our independence from England, one of the most powerful nations in the world at the time.

Many will be on the water with friends and family to watch the firework displays put on by many organizations around Lake Conroe. At the appointed time will be seen beautiful pyrotechnic displays that will draws ooohs and aaahs from everyone. The only downside is they are after dark.

When the lake is crowded with boats in the dark, everyone needs to be completely attuned to what is going on around them and keep the speed down when moving from place to place. It may take you a little longer to get where you are going at slow speeds but it sure beats hitting a sandbar, bridge pylon, or another boat doing thirty plus miles per hour.

Two more things that can ruin a celebration are sunburn and dehydration, and they are so common it is chilling to think about and both are preventable. To these I can only recommend water or sport drinks to help combat dehydration and sunscreen for the sunburn, but it is your choice.

So friends take care, have a great time on Independence Day, and a little common sense will go a long way to keeping you and everyone else safe.

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