I remember the 4th of July as being a really fun “kid holiday.” School was out, the weather was perfect for a warm summer night with friends, fireworks and a later than usual bedtime. Our family would gather with 4-5 other families, with children the same age as my brother, sister and me. We’d have a delicious summer feast and always had homemade chocolate sheet cake with homemade vanilla ice cream (which all of the kids would take a turn cranking).
As the days led up to this wonderful summer celebration, I remember riding our bikes to one of the two firework stands in our small town. We’d pedal home with our treasures in a brown paper sack. Punks for lighting the firecrackers, black cats, black snakes, bottle rockets Roman candles… the list goes on. I loved it, but my brother REALLY loved it! So much so that he thought nothing of plunking down $20 or $30 at a time (of his hard-earned lawn mowing money) to buy fireworks. I personally thought he was crazy for wasting that much money on fireworks… but he loved it.
My brother was also much more of a risk-taker than I am. He’d light the firecracker and hold it between his fingers until the last-minute and then toss it in the air! I’m sure he gave my parents heart palpitations a time or two, but that’s just what he did. My sister and I were a little too concerned with keeping our fingers intact and we’d heed my parent’s warning of “You’re going to lose a finger messing around with those things!” It was a little like “A Christmas Story” —- “You’ll put your eye out with that gun!”
Fortunately we all made it through those 4th of July holidays without any serious injuries – My biggest mishap was running across the street to catch up with my friends with a lit punk in one hand and a firecracker in the other. I tripped, fell and somehow lit the firecracker, but did manage to toss it before it exploded.
Wishing you a wonderful, star-spangled, ice-cream filled 4th of July!