Big Noise for a Small Town

I drove home from Oregon just in time to make my way up to Crouch, Idaho for the 4th of July. Crouch is a small town..population about 160 or so, so I was surprised to hear from multiple people that this tiny town in the Idaho mountains explodes into party central on the 4th. Naturally, I had to check it out. I talked Carly and Brian into meeting me there after they got off the lake, grabbed Joey and took off. Due to my superb directional skills, we arrived about 45 minutes later than intended and almost missed a bbq that we had been invited to. Not one to miss out on a free feed, I would have been severely disappointed in myself if I had made us miss it haha. As we sat on a hill, eating our burgers and overlooking the town, the 4th of July parade began. Unbeknownst to us, we were in the “water section” of the parade. What does this mean, exactly? It means that not only can you get the parade participants wet, but they can retaliate. It means when the fire engine drives by, they stop and spray everyone with the hose. I managed to get through the parade almost completely dry by hiding behind an old couple while scarfing down the rest of my meal lest it became waterlogged (talk about courageous…). People started to fill the streets after the parade, and as the night wore on everything became more and more packed. I was pleasantly surprised, and completely unaware that Crouch could hold that many people. As Joey and I walked around in the summer haze we saw many cabins that just had numerous tents set up for people to crash if they wanted to later. Good thing too, because much to my delight there was an open container law set in place for just the night, and booze was flowing freely through the streets. Instead of watching the crowds closely and shutting down drunken shenanigans, the police were passing out American flag stickers.

The night started out tame enough, Joey and I went swimming in the river and then wandered around town for a bit to check out the live band that was playing. We met up with my brother Paul and his wife Kristina and decided to go on a beer run. On our way out of the market we ran into Jonathan and me invited us over to where he and his friends were. By now people had filled the streets and began lighting fireworks. There were mostly snakes, smoke bombs, whistling petes, and similar types, but Jon informed us that Kelly (on of the guys in his group) had brought over $5000 worth of fireworks for later! And this turned out to be the norm for this crowd. As soon as it got dark, we climbed back up the hill to watch the city firework show. That was fairly impressive, but what blew me away was the show everyone else was putting on in town. We made our way back into the center of town, packed in like sardines at the edge of the crowd a we watched everyone light off their fireworks. There were heaps of illegal ones, and people would just run out into the middle of the street and light them at free will. The result was a spectacular show that far overshadowed the city’s display (and possibly most other firework shows that I have seen). Everyone was right, this town explodes on the 4th of July. I was in sensory overload with the mass amount of people, endless explosions in the sky, and live country music all night. There are some repercussions from standing front and center, one of which being blasted with the occasional firework offshoot. We had to cover our drinks so ash wouldn’t fall in them, and every once in a while I would feel a hot, burning sensation somewhere on my body from a stray blast. Combine all the people, fireworks, and booze and I’m surprised I didn’t light my hair on fire (actually, I think I almost did). After exhausting our incredibly large supply of fireworks, Joey and I heard that there were $1 beers farther down the road at the Dirty Shame Saloon. We stopped on the way of course for some dancing with Carly and Brian, and halfway down the road to the bar Joey and I ran into each other and both fell over. We definitely got made fun of by the passing crowd. Once we got to the Dirty Shame, I realized my camera was missing; somewhere along the line it had fallen out of my pocket. We back tracked and asked everyone we saw, but we never did find it. That was a pretty big downer on my night for a while, but once it’s lost…it’s lost. There is nothing you can do about it other than enjoy your night and worry about it the next day. And that is exactly what I did. We went back into town, rounded up the group, and decided to have a good time at the Shame. After the fireworks finally fizzled out, I think everyone in town decided to go there because it was just as packed as everywhere else; they also had a live cover band playing on the patio. Carly, Kristina and I jumped up onto the railing behind the band and started dancing, which prompted loud cheers from the crowd and others to follow suit. Oh my gosh. It was SO MUCH FUN! We were dancing on the rail and singing to the crowd while they sang back at us and cheered us on.

After endless beers, mixed drinks, shots and hours of dancing we finally called it a night. Carly and Brian crashed in their car while Joey and I went back to the hotel where Jonathan was staying and the three of us tried to set up a tent. We decided whiskey was needed for this operation (trust me, at that point it certainly wasn’t) and attempted assemble this thing not only smashed out of our minds…but in the dark. We finally managed to keep it standing and thought we were done until Joey noticed a pole sitting next to the tent instead of holding it up like it should be. We looked at our poor, dilapidated tent for a minute before I finally slurred, “Wellll….s’goodenoughorme”, crawled into my sleeping bag, and passed out.

The drive home the next day was nothing short of hell, and I had a cop follow me almost the whole way back. However, I look back on this 4th of July as one of the best times I’ve ever had celebrating our country’s birthday! (Also, if any of you readers happened by some miracle to be in Crouch and found a small, silver, digital Nikon Coolpix S400…let me know. I miss it. And there were some fantastic photos on it.)

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