Shell Shocked

Ron Nagasawa
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Wednesday - July 15, 2009
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I just had one of the best Fourth of July holidays that I can recall since my dad passed away in 1983. He was a total patriot, having served his country in Korea and Vietnam. July 4 at our house was like Christmas to him. He proudly displayed an American flag, we barbecued and played with fireworks.

We’ve tried to keep that tradition alive with my belief that simplicity is always better. Our day starts with a trip to the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, where we put his favorite flowers on his grave - red Hawaiian carnations. My wife and I then assemble all the food for the evening.

It’s hamburgers and hot dogs, which I naturally prepare over a grill. I also ran out to buy some “legal” fireworks for our kids to play with, our version of a fireworks display. Our guest list consisted of my mom, my in-laws and our 12-year-old daughter’s friend.


I set up our garage with folding chairs I borrowed from my brother. The chairs are really comfortable as they are round and look like mini “Papasan” chairs except with folding legs. Anyway, I set up chairs for everyone, with mine closest to the fireworks action.

After dinner I opened the garage door and told our daughter and her friend that they could do fireworks on the street fronting our house. There was nothing fancy about our celebration, but it was great having our 20-year-old son home from college and our little family all together to enjoy it.

Everyone got in their seats and I went to get an ice-cold beer and a paper cup to pour it in. I stood in front of my chair and poured my beer, filling the cup. I did this in a single motion as I backed down into the chair to sit in it.

Unfortunately, I had failed to lock the folding legs and the chair collapsed with me in it. The round cushion and my arms and legs in the air made me look like a turtle on his back. After it was confirmed that I was not hurt, everyone burst into laughter.

The laughter elevated to hysteria as I tried to get out of the chair and my wife offered to help me, but the day I can’t get out of a chair is the day I’m out of the man club. I stood up with the beer bottle still in one hand and the full paper cup in the other. Miraculously, I had not spilled a single drop.

I saluted the night sky and said, “Thanks, Dad. God bless America!”

Ron’s WEBSITE of the week


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