Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th!

A remembrance.

When I was a kid, our family would go to my Nan and Pap's, along with my aunt and uncle and cousin. They lived at the top of this hill and owned a decent chunk of the surrounding property. After cooking out (in the attached garage to avoid the heat), we would drag our lawn chairs out into the gravel driveway and wait for it to get dark.

My dad and uncle would go about setting up the fireworks while my brother, cousin, and I dug out the "snakes" (those black disk-like things that expanded into ropey smears on the sidewalk.) At dusk, everyone was in place. There were always a decent mix of cheap and more elaborate fireworks. Most worked the way they were advertised. Only one time did I feel at ill-at-ease, when a flying saucer device came shooting into the garage just over our ducked heads and smashed against the wall.

I should re-phrase that. It was the only time I felt ill-at-ease that night around my dad and uncle. My Pap was another story. He liked setting off the pinky-sized firecrackers that came braided together in packs of like fifty. Someone decided to give him a pack and a candle, a lopsided Christmas tree candle. He sat there throughout the night, lighting one after another, tossing them wherever he please.

Wherever he pleased.

Now, he never directly threw any fireworks at any of us, but he would routinely toss them into the gravel in front of your chair, at my Nan's feet as she brought out a tray of red, white, and blue cupcakes, and or into the smoldering remains of the grill. While I'm sure my mom considered taking away his candle, I think secretly we were all more than a little amused.

As long as one didn't end up in your lap.

Happy Independence Day!

1 comment:

  1. Good times! Sounds like he was celebrating his freedom by tossing those firecrakers wherever he wanted.

    I got together with two other families to celebrate the fourth this year in rural Grove City. We pooled our resources of food, drinks, and fireworks. Somehow I ended up with a torch in my hand and became the designated "lighter" of the boomers in the tubes. Cool job that required a gentle mix of courage and skill. The show must go on!

    Someone asked me later why it was illegal for the average citizen to set off fireworks in Ohio. I like to think of setting off fireworks as a way to honor the memory of the original "law breakers" who signed the Declaration of Independence.

    Light it up!