Today is the first of July. Hard to believe the year is half over, but now we are at the halfway point...Independence Day festivities. Everyone is all in lather to go to the lake (myself included) and partake of picnics, boating, and fireworks display. I often think about things I did as a kid, how excited me and my brothers would get this time of year. Dad would buy a brick of Black Cats, divide them amongst the three of us, light a "punk" (which I discovered later is only cow poop on a stick) and turn us loose on a quest to see what we could blow up. I suppose our penchant for black powder is genetic...I know for a fact that my parents camped on the banks of the Republican River at this time in 1974 and my mother spent some of her free time trying to blow up frogs with Black Cats. The rest of her free time, apparently, was utilized by conceiving her first child...Yours Truly.
My parents would really drop some serious cash in the fireworks tent, 4 days of flaming fun until that big night with the big bbq and the big fireworks show put on by my parents. Our own fireworks displays were well known throughout the neighborhood. My favorite was the Happy Lantern. Sparks would fly and then ~bloop~ a little Chinese paper latern would appear. My brothers favored the parachute ones. A rocket would race into the sky ~bang~ then out would pop a little parachute which would ultimately not land on the ground for recovery, but instead go MIA until the following winter when someone would spot it hanging in the leaf-barren tree in the front yard.
And don't forget those snake thingies that would seemingly grow out of the sidewalk when lit, leaving a big black mess in their wake, not to mention the burn mark that would forever be emblazoned onto the concrete...long after the Second Coming.
We had no fear of burnt limbs or visits to the ER. We laughed in the face of danger as our dog ate anything that had smoke coming out of it. Bwah-hah-hah!
Now, I prefer to just go to the big fireworks display...usually free. I roll my eyes in annoyance at all the debris left over from spent fireworks on the 5th, littering my streets. I grit my teeth as my neighbors blow off the 100-count Saturn missile (with report) right outside my bedroom window while I am sleeping. Bastards. I guess I am just getting old. My excitement for lighting fireworks with a poop-stick has gone by the wayside with the likes of the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.
I drive through Riverside, and notice there is a fireworks tent every 15 feet. There must be some city ordinance that permits one little town to have so much flammable material. If every single piece of fireworks were to spontaneously combust in Riverside, all that would remain of that town would be a large crater roughly the size of Rhode Island. I've often felt that Riverside should post large "NO SMOKING" signs at their city limits, effective from June 20th to July 6th. A true testament to the tourism dollar, Riverside could boast that they have enough fireworks to effectively blow off the fingers of every man, woman and child in the Greater Kansas City area, and it would be absolutely true.
No, I think I will stick with the free displays around town. No handling of dried poop required for that...not to mention less risk of me burning off something I may need later.
Have a fun, safe and burn-free Independence Day!