Yesterday’s Today

It must have been kind of weird for Canadians to celebrate Canada Day in the middle of the week. Have a day off, then go back to work! Don’t celebrate too enthusiastically or try and go anywhere too far away, and forget about that long weekend.

Here Independence Day is on Saturday, which is also kind of weird. Most off us have the day off anyway, and not everyone got Friday off (I know I didn’t). Garbage was collected (lucky us, compared to the striking Toronto), but there was no mail. The library is closed today, but I’m not sure yet if there will be mail. The air has been full of barbecue smoke for the past couple of days, and last night there were ad hoc and possibly illegal fireworks here in the ‘hood.

Back when fireworks were legal, the Glorious Fourth was celebrated with style at the Hellman family’s mansion (now known as Dunsmuir House), right here in Oaktown. In 1916, Mr. Hellman spent the equivalent of $2,300 in today’s dollars on fireworks, with the alluring names of Silver Fountains, Dragon Nests, and Diamond Mines. The family hosted their friends at a day-long party, culminating in a formal, candlelit dinner, the fabulous fireworks display, and a dance in the carriage house.

Those were indeed the days.