The Fourth is almost here!

I wonder what the weather will be like - so many Fourths have been wet, chilly and windy it's been hard to enjoy a picnic, and at times, so foggy it was hard to see the fireworks. The fireworks booths are starting to sprout up all over, and before long parents are going to be inundated with demands for all kinds of them.

I remember one Fourth past. One of my grandsons - can't remember if it was Scott, (now 14), or his brother Michael, (now 22) - was just a little guy. It was his first experience with fireworks, and we gave him a sparkler. He giggled and danced around until it was finished, then brought it back to us wanting us to light it again, and just couldn't understand why when we told him it couldn't be done. They just grow up way too fast!

Because our town has such a widespread reputation about the wonderful celebration it has, there will be many visitors in the next few days. This includes family members coming home for a visit, and strangers who want to see for themselves if what they've heard about us is true. Some folks have made it a habit to come every year - some from several states away, I've been told.

People are going to be rushing to get things done, competing for items on the grocery store shelves, and jostling for space at South Beach to picnic and do their fireworks.

It all means that once again we will be called upon to be extra-cautious, and courteous to our visitors. Remember that a smile goes a long way when you're trying to get things done. Stifle that urge to get snarky right back when someone makes a nasty comment at you. (A few years ago, a visitor snarled at me, when I did not answer her fast enough, "So this is your so-called wonderful California hospitality!" I bit back the urge to spit back at her, "I'm from New York!")

Invite a stranger to your church. Many will be arriving on the weekend. More than once a visiting family has found their way to our church the Sunday before the holiday.

Maybe your church is planning a picnic at the beach, or at some other location on the Fourth. I have information on only one.

andbull; New Life Community Church will start with a potluck at 6 p.m. Thursday, and will have a time of fellowship until the fireworks begin. The church at 2nd and D streets is ideally located to watch them. Bring a dish to share and join in the fellowship and fun.

andbull; There is information now on another Vacation Bible School program.

The church is The Refuge Christian Fellowship, and the program will take place at the fairground Arts and Crafts building from 8:30 a.m. to noon, July 22andndash;26.

The program is "Kingdom Rock," with a knights and castles theme. To register your child, or ask questions, call Amanda Phillips at 464-9849.

The other VBS programs, as previously noted, are:

andbull; Monday-Wednesday: First Baptist Church, grades 1andndash;5, 9andndash;11:30 a.m. Crafts, games, music and snacks are planned.

andbull; July 8andndash;12, Gasquet Bible Church, 9:30andndash;11:30 a.m., "Jesus Our King," led by Roy and Elvia Sprague.

andbull; July 8andndash;11, Pelican Bay Evangelical Free, 9 a.m.andndash;noon, call Summer Fitch, 954-8097.

andbull; July 15andndash;19, Foursquare and Cornerstone combined, at Foursquare, 9 a.m.andndash;12:30 p.m., call Juan at Foursquare.

andbull; July 22andndash;26, Smith River Baptist Church, 9 a.m.andndash;noon.

To contact Martha Williams, call 460-3000, or email