Thursday, July 3, 2008


Probably what best defines summer for me is the 4th of July get-togethers we used to have when I was a kid. Everyone would make it a priority to be at home during this time, and we all gathered at my granddads house up on the hill. There would always be plenty of food to eat and we’d have huge watermelons and Popsicles, which was always my favorite.

We’d also always have some form of fireworks that we illegally purchased somewhere in Virginia; the younger kids got blacksnakes, smoke bombs, sparklers and jumping jacks, the older kids would get firecrackers and bottle rockets. The adults would get fountains and other sparkly “big” fireworks that’d shoot up in the air. Another favorite thing to do was for the adults to jump over lit fountains and holler "candlestick" as you past over it. If you escaped with no burns, then you won! Not the safest game in the world, and probably why most fireworks are illegal in West Virginia.

I remember one year us kids were setting off fireworks and the clothesline was hanging full of clothes and a jumping jack “jumped” up in a pants leg and caught them on fire, now that was an exciting event getting to put the fire out. We weren’t allowed to play around the clothesline after that.

One of our favorite uses for fireworks was when us kids would sneak up and strategically place the smoke bombs where they would annoy the most people, you know, somewhere where the smoke would just billow around everyone… that was part of the fun...stalking and plotting to annoy!

As we all got older we progressed into bottle rockets and firecrackers, where we’d blow anthills apart and stick the lit firecrackers in glass pop bottles. Also, we’d have bottle rocket fights where we’d shoot the bottle rockets at each other. Nobody ever got hurt except for minor burns around your fingers from lighting the fireworks...but that was all part of the experience.

As I get ready to go home to celebrate Independence Day this year, I’ll keep the memories of past celebrations vivid in my mind, and I’ll try to remember the innocence and good old fashioned fun from years ago.

1 comment:

Shirley Stewart Burns, Ph.D. said...

Well, you certainly paint vivid pictures of past July 4th celebrations. Still, it's a wonder someone didn't lose a finger! Keep the stories coming!