Playing With Fire…Works

It’s all too easy to look back at times past and not how much better things were in ‘the good old days.’ In some cases, it also happens to be true. Part of that is due to changing times, of course. Another is the changed perspective from a child to an adult.

The Fourth of July, our Independence Day, is a time for celebration and reflection. I hope you are celebrating in your manner of choice…be it a BBQ, pic nicking, partying, or watching the night works with friends and family. For kids, the food is one great thing, but the big attraction is the fireworks.

Many places these days have only ‘safe and sane’ fireworks, or may have banned them altogether. With all due acknowledgement of the danger or kids shooting off fireworks, that was one of the great high points of a youngster’s summer ‘back in the day.’ Whether it was a package of one and a half inchers, bottle rockets, pinwheels, or those snakes that left a permanent stain on the concrete (to the consternation of adults), THAT was the best part of the holiday for kids.

In our family, we often traveled to a lake in Missouri where my aunt and uncle had a home. Our families would BBQ, water ski, and then take the boat down to the dam to watch the fireworks from the water at dusk. For my cousin and myself, there was another guilty pleasure…a guy on the lake made a trip somewhere every June, and came back with a station wagon full of fireworks that weren’t even legal back then.

My cousin and I (around ages 12 and 13 I believe) would spend the princely sum of 20 dollars and buy a box of M-80’s to split. Nothing matched the excitement of tying those to a rock, lighting them, and tossing them into the lake from the dock…they’d send up a water column some 10 to 15 feet into the air. We were lucky of course–if you didn’t toss them in time, they could blow off most of your hand. That and the fire danger were and are certainly reason enough for them to be banned…but it sure was fun at the time!

Happy Independence Day!