I gleefully rub my hands together and enter the store. Fireworks! In the South firework stands are a part of everyday life around New Year’s Day. I love to set off fireworks and watch them explode. Maybe that is some kind of disorder but one I share with a lot of other people at this time of year. I make my purchase and, with the help of the clerk, carry my bounty to the car. I am ready to greet the New Year!
I grew up around aunts and uncles who shared my love of watching the beautiful colors against the night sky. My parents, ever cautious, did not appreciate anything about fireworks and were always watching to make sure I didn’t blow off some vital part of my body. I was careful because I learned from the masters or so I thought.
One particular great uncle (that my grandmother said was “river trash”) enjoyed blowing things up and watching the sparks fly. He always did things in a grand way. One New Year’s Eve, he (after imbibing an admirable amount of Wild Turkey), decided that simple fireworks were just not enough. He and another great uncle (who also shared the same bottle), decided that the dynamite they had in the back shed might just be more entertaining than Roman candles. As usual, I (who was about ten at the time) was slinking around watching the grownups, being exactly where my parents had told me not to be. I stood watching those two uncles excitedly planting the dynamite in an old stump behind my uncle’s house. They lit the fuse and took off running; well as fast as two men in their seventies could run. The dynamite went off, blowing the stump at least a hundred feet in the air, sparks flying and a lot of hootin’ going on. Such excitement!!! Until…the stump came down – right through the roof of my great uncle’s house. My great aunt, a staunch Baptist who did not approve of alcohol, came out of the house as mad as a wet hen. My poor uncle tried to hide in the back shed but to no avail. After a thorough tongue-lashing, he and the other uncle were banished from the house along with their bottle. I still stand in awe of that explosion which was never duplicated again. I was also never allowed back to that particular uncle’s house again.
I understand the dangers of fireworks and I do respect the damage that handling them carelessly can cause. Every year I set up my fireworks, aimed over the pond to reduce fire hazards, and shoot them off to my heart’s content. You know, there is an old stump down by the pond, maybe if I… Naw, the insurance company wouldn’t look favorably on a claim that I had a hole in my roof. Sigh.
Do you like to shoot off fireworks? What are your favorites? Mine are Roman Candles. I never got to get any dynamite.