4th of July

| July 5, 2009

We spent the 4th of July weekend at Ron’s sister, Julie’s, home up in Hanford. Iris and Morgan took the Amtrak up to Hanford on Wednesday. Interestingly, the train does not go all the way through; they had to first take a bus to Bakersfield and then a train the rest of the way (Ron heard from someone that it would have been too expensive for Amtrak to extend the tracks from Bakersfield through the hilly region between Grapevine and the San Fernando valley). Ron and Stephanie came up Thursday afternoon, after Stephanie’s summer school class was out (there was no school on Friday because of the holiday).

It was a very relaxing weekend. On Friday night, we went to Superior Dairy, and old-fashioned ice cream parlor which is more authentic than Farrell’s. The girls and their cousins shared an SOS while Iris and Ron shared a banana split. Iris quit after only a few bites, leaving Ron with a huge portion.

On Saturday, the 4th, we drove over to the outlet mall in Tulare. The kids needed new basketball shoes, although we didn’t find any that they liked (have to wait for the Las Vegas trip). We still got them a bunch of clothes they needed for the coming school year.

Ken’s family (his parents, his sister, most of his brothers and their families, and their friends, the Harris’) came over later that evening for a huge potluck. Iris made kalua pork as our contribution.

Right around 7 PM, a couple of dogs, who belonged to the neighbor living behind the Gong’s house, began ripping open a hole in the backyard fence. It was mostly a very large German shepard-mix that was doing most of the tearing; he would just grab a board with his teeth and actually pull it apart. Eventually they (the other dog was a big golden retriever) got through and began running around the backyard. The owners weren’t home, and Ken chased them back through to their side and tried various ways of mending the fence, but the dogs would just tear up more boards and hop through. Eventually, we just let them settle in the backyard. I think the combination of fireworks (e.g., Piccolo Petes) going off during the day and the fact that their owners weren’t around made them a bit stir crazy. The shepard had a tag on his collar, so Julie called and left a message.

The kids had fun setting off safe-and-sane fireworks in the street. Julie had a bunch of fireworks left over from last year. We all took chairs and watched from the driveway.

The dogs’ owners called the next morning and said they were out of town, planning their daughter’s wedding, but they’d have a friend come over to their house to watch the dogs.

All-in-all, a very relaxing weekend. We always enjoy visiting the Gongs because the whole atmosphere is laid-back.