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Happy Independence Day

“Pop, are you going to get fireworks?” #1 Grandson asked.  I bit my tongue to not speak.  Is the sky blue?  Is the ocean salty?  I’d be disappointed if Husband didn’t buy fireworks and so would our 14-year-old #1 Grand and other Grands.

            I’m talking about backyard fireworks to be safely enjoyed on the evening of the 4th.  After all, fireworks are a tradition.  On July 4, 1777, the firing of cannons and explosives left over from wars were part of our country’s celebration on the first anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.   

            When I was a kid Dad bought firecrackers and sparklers and Roman candles.  He made sure all cars were parked a safe distance away and our dogs were inside the basement and he stressed safety rules.  No lighting firecrackers from another firecracker.  No throwing firecrackers or pointing sparklers toward anyone.  Keep a bucket of water near by.  And clean up the mess when finished.   

            Mom, Dad, my brother, Roger, and I gathered in our driveway at dark-thirty.  I lit my firecrackers quickly and Roger methodically made the ones allotted to him last a long time.  Dad lit the Roman candles and aimed them away from the house. Those fireballs swooshed high in the air.  I was awed.

            When our kids were young, Husband bought fireworks.  His rules were the same as Dad’s. Son and Daughter helped Husband lay the fireworks out on the driveway and just the bright colored packages created excitement. A few other neighbors contributed fireworks and several families gathered in the street.  The sparkling bright colors, the loud swooshing sounds, the pops – all were fun.  As were smoke bombs that created dark gray smoke and stunk and snakes that lay on the ground and glowed and then shriveled into black worms.  Best were spinners and poppers and bottle rockets and roman candles – fireworks that flashed and flew. 

            A favorite firework was a buzzer. Once Husband lit one on the ground and it buzzed and spun and flashed red and yellow sparks and jumped three feet high.  Usually a couple of bounces and buzzers fizzled out.  As we young mothers sat on the ground, at what we thought was a safe distance, a buzzer jumped and spun our way.  We scrambled to move, but Marilyn was right in the buzzer’s path.  It took a leap and jumped into the armhole of her sleeveless blouse and she screamed.  Marilyn wasn’t seriously injured and a safety lesson followed. 

            Just like I’d done, our kids and others held sparklers and created shapes and designs and letters in the darkness.  And one watched.  When others had burned all their sparklers, that child put on a sparkler show.

            Now it’s the Grands’ turn.  Husband will buy fireworks and at dark-thirty, we’ll celebrate our country’s birthday.  All will ooh and aah and clap and squeal and some will hold fingers in their ears and we’ll end with sparklers.  I wonder who’ll be last and present a solo show.

            Happy Independence Day!

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