“Another 4th of July Gone By”

“Where liberty dwells, there is my country”— Benjamin Franklin

“The bombs bursting in air”

Happy Independence Day! Can you believe the 4th of July has come and gone? The first half of 2012 has come and gone, it just sort of flew on by. FYI, there are only 174 shopping days until Christmas. Thought you might like to know in case you’d like to beat the crowd, it will be here before you know it. It’s a hundred degrees outside and I’m talking about Christmas. Oh well, go figure

Independence Day, a celebration of our nations victory in her fight for freedom, is associated with parades, flag lined boulevards, family gatherings, barbecues,hot dogs, picnics and beer, a fun filled, family and friend day! And in the evening the dark summer skies are set ablaze with spectacular fireworks and aerial displays. Awesome! And if your city is one of the few that hasn’t banned the ever popular safe and sane, variety of street or backyard fireworks, you can have your own pyrotechnic show on at home. Remember as a kid getting one of those big Red Devil or Freedom fireworks variety packs like the Air Spectacular, Stars & Stripes, Dynasty or Super Magnum. I think the biggest one was called the Blockbuster. Each box contained an assortment of  glittery cones and colorful fountains, sparklers, blooming flowers, the whistling Piccolo Petes,  fiery spinning pin wheels, roman candles,  pyro torches, the ever entertaining  black snakes and a whole lot more! Remember getting a hammer and smashing the base of a Piccolo Pete so when it was done whistling it would explode. Yeah a good old Piccolo Pete bomb, sweet.

If you were lucky enough to get a hold of some fireworks of the illegal variety so much the better. My uncle always had bricks of small fire crackers and bottle rockets available for our entertainment. When I got a little older my cousin and I made the leap from firecrackers to M-80’s and cherry bombs, once in awhile we got a hold of some quarter sticks. main those were the coolest!

Yeah every 4th of July we would go to my grandparents house in Arcadia. They had like a double deep lot and an alley that ran adjacent to the house. My grandpa would barricade both ends of the alley and we would have a gigantic party with all my aunts, uncles cousins and family friends. There was always plenty of food and drink, it was a real blast. In the evening we had an unobstructed view of the aerial fireworks show put on by the city at Arcadia Park. Even when I got older and began driving, my friends and I would head to my grandparents every 4th of July. I think I was twenty or so the last time I watched a show from there. After the aerial show we would have our own firework show there in the alley.  My grandpa always bought a big variety pack of fireworks for us, plus whatever our parents bought. We;d be lighting fireworks for hours, at least it felt like hours.

I remember one particular year when I was about fourteen or fifteen, my cousin Larry and I spent the night. Around three in the morning we sneaked out and went out front to the street. Larry had some cherry bombs so we stuck one in the small hole of a manhole cover in front of the alley. It was a snug fit but it worked. Larry lit it and we ran like crazy with our hands over our ears, but the cherry bomb didn’t go off! Thinking it might be a dud we slowly approached the cover. We were about a foot and a half away when it went off. It not only rocked the the man hole cover and left it partially open, but it echoed through the sewer pipe below. It was the loudest think I think I had ever heard! My hearing was impaired for several days after. Needless to say my grandpa wasn’t too happy with us. He was out there almost immediately. Cursing at us and getting us inside before the police came by. They cruised slowly down the street a few minutes later.

Early the next morning Larry and I took a canvas bag and walked over to Arcadia Park. It looked like a war zone. It smelled of smoke and gunpowder and there was firework debris scattered throughout the park. we spent about an hour collecting fireworks that appeared to have not burned completely, took them back to my grandparents house and carefully removed the remaining powder from each one. We ended up wit a pile about six inches round and maybe four inches high. Later that night we made a fuse and lit it up.  It was pretty cool and sprayed up at least eight feet and we nearly started my grandpa’s trailer on fire, but that’s a whole other story.

This year we went to my daughter and son-in-laws house. It’s sort of become a tradition. We had a really great time! Hope you had a safe and sane 4th and enjoyed making memories.

J S


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