Time to share. We the poeple of the best generation have some of the best memories. Share them here!fireworks


Filed under Humor, Life Lessons

3 responses to “GOT 4TH OF JULY MEMORIES?

  1. Trip to the Outhouse

    Growing up on a quarter-section farm, there wasn’t that much money to get new toys very often. But my parents really loved the 4th of July. We usually went somewhere for a picnic, even though sometimes the wheat was being cut that very day.

    My dad always ordered off for fireworks from a place up in South Dakota. It was some kind of trading company, but I can’t squeeze out the exact name from the recesses of my brain. He’d fill out the order form more than a month in advance of the 4th. Then a few days before the holiday would arrive this long cardboard box, which, of course, we weren’t allowed even to peek into.

    Finally, after much anticipation, we got to break it open on Independence Day morning. Inside was the magic.

    For daytime, there were packs and packs of Black Cat firecrackers for my older brothers, and several packs of Lady Fingers for me, the littlest, not to mention a bunch of punks. We’d spend most of the day shooting them off, many one by one, others several at a time with their fuses twisted together. When we got tired of just the thrill of the “spritz” of the burning fuses and the noise of the exploding firecrackers, we’d get more inventive by blowing up red ant hills, dropping them lit into old Hi-C cans, or putting them into pipes which we had stopped up one end with something, usually mud. There were always the “fizzlers”, and, for sure, we had to try to make them go off, one way or another. Don’t let me forget “Black snakes” (do they still have them these days?). I’m sure you remember those little tablets of some kind of carbon stuff, which when you lit them with a match (punk wouldn’t work), they’d burn up into a long, wiggly piece of soot that looked something like a snake.

    That box from South Dakota held loads of fireworks that had to wait until dark: Roman candles, bottle rockets, sparklers, cones, whirlagigs and odds and ends of other kinds. We could hardly wait. I’m sure we must have asked a hundred times, “Is it dark enough yet?” Some years, we drove the 20 miles to Russell and watched the “big” fireworks, but most years, we were more than content to have our own show. We’d drag the lawn chairs and blankets far out into yard away from the house. My brothers would light them, and we’d savor all the explosions of color and light of each one before the next got lit.

    Again being the youngest, I never got to light the big cones or most of the other night fireworks. If I was lucky, I’d get to hold a Roman candle and was always urged to “shake it” to make sure every one of the balls of green and red light whizzed out and up into the night sky. Mostly, though, I was relegated to shaking the sparklers, which someone had deemed were the safest for me and which must have been the least exciting for the others, because out of everything in that box, they were “the last hurrah” of the night. There was an old bucket that the shot-off fireworks were supposed to go into, but I remember stepping on a still hot sparkler rod with my bare feet on more than one occasion.

    As an adult, I’ve watched some dramatic, well-choreographed fireworks shows in various places around the world, but as far as a memory goes, none of them holds a (Roman) candle to the excitement that came out of a box from South Dakota.

    • Nice!
      I love these aesthetic memories!

      As a kid I loved to build military models. I’d spend months gluing and painting. When any model got old and had a broken piece or two, it got the 4th of July treatment.
      Boats are always fun, set them sailing like a Viking funeral.

  2. wicked

    1st memory
    I’m sure my dislike of the noise of the 4th comes from my childhood. My aunt and uncle used to join us to watch the fireworks coming from Joyland. Of course that particular spot where we would park the car and get out on the dirt road is now I-135. It was the big booms that did it, ending with me with my hands over my ears, crying…loudly. I probably cried loud enough to drown out the booms. My mother would get mad and yell at me, so I’d end up in the car, while everyone else enjoyed the show.

    2nd memory
    Fast-forward… Viola, Kansas, used to have an all-day 4th celebration, complete with Bingo games, food, and a fireworks show on the ball diamond that cost them a bundle. “They” being the local Lions Club. People from all around used to attend, until it became too expensive in the early80’s, right after I had my first daughter. It was definitely a disappointment to see it end.

    3rd memory
    After the Viola celebration was no more, I had to hunt for places I could take my kids to see fireworks. One year we drove to Goddard at the last minute, and when Wichita started having the big show at Cessna Stadium, we could sometimes see the bursts of color just over the horizon from our backyard. When the girls were older, Clearwater started doing a fireworks show at the football field. From the bleachers, we could also see all the aerials from all the surrounding towns in the distance. I always liked that the best. The flatness of Kansas does have its advantages. 🙂

    There was the year their dad decided to spend a ton of money on fireworks, much to my disgust. LOL He set them off on a makeshift road between two worked (disked) wheat fields. (Harvest was just barely over.) Problem was, the stubble caught on fire anyway. The really fun part of the evening was watching him try to stomp out the little fires with his feet. Kind of like some native dance for rain. 😉

    Then there was the year two of the girls’ guy friends came out and accidentally set the yard on fire with fireworks. The blaze nearly reached the reel on the combine, the propane tank, and the two big gas tanks. Dad, luckily wasn’t home for that one.

    Our ‘neighbors’ who lived a mile to the south would wait a week or so after harvest and put on a fireworks show for everyone. They did a great job each year, and we always eagerly awaited news for fireworks night. It was their way of celebrating both a belated 4th and harvest being over, a gift to all the neighbors.

    But the best memory was spending the 4th in Mexico when I was 17. Being out of the country is when one really understands what we celebrate on July 4th.