Friday, July 3, 2015

4th of July, 1965

I was eight. It was the 4th of July and we were at my grandparents house.

My grandfather had some real firecrackers. Big around as a road flare and about two inches long. They had long heavy green fuses sticking out of the side. He would put one under a coffee can in the driveway and light the fuse that stuck out under the side, then hustle back to where he had me standing.

BOOM! Loud as a shotgun. The can would launch up in the air about as high as the trees in the front yard and then drop back somewhere in the yard. We probably did that together for an hour. My grandmother and mother were not amused.

We had the old woven folding chairs out of the garage and put charcoal on the grill. Burgers, corn on the cob, baked beans, and Cott ginger ale.

When it got to dusk we lit sparklers and I ran around the yard waving them in circles.

Sometime about 8:30 we climbed in the old Ford station wagon and rode into town for the fireworks.

No one wondered if the flag was a symbol of oppression. The fireworks my grandfather set off rattled the windows but didn't bring the police. We were unashamedly patriotic and knew we lived in the greatest county in the world.

Someone should remember.

10 comments:

drjim said...

Some of us do, my friend......

Old NFO said...

Yes we do... My flag will fly proudly today!!!

TommyG said...

They were called M-80s here. The guy at the fireworks stand said that they were equal to a quarter stick of dynamite. I don't know if that was true or not but I do know if you put one in the mail box to see what would happen someone was getting a whipping.

matism said...

Were you smart enough, TommyG, to leave an unused M-80 in your brother's jeans pocket in the bedroom?
}:-]

And then disavow all knowledge about anything related to fireworks...

WoFat said...

What was - was. What is now - ain't.

Eric Wilner said...

Ah, yes...
Apart from the occasional vacation, I've spent my life so far in California, where only Safe'N'Lame fireworks are legal at all, and not even those in any cities and most counties.
But, family vacation, 1965 or maybe a year or two later; I was five or so: visiting relatives in flyover country. Afternoon of the Fourth at my great-grandfather's farm (out by Tower City, ND), visiting, seeing an actual farm, and of course setting off firecrackers and bottle rockets. Evening in the backyard of some other relatives, lighting skyrockets and such. Legally!
Memories, indeed.
Where I live now, fireworks of any kind are totally illegal, though there's little or no enforcement except in parks and schoolyards. Various neighbors, as might be expected, make fireworks runs to Mexico and come back with truckloads of The Good Stuff, and put on some pretty impressive displays for the neighborhood.
Well, circumstances permitting, Next Year In Tennessee!

TommyG said...

They were called M-80s here. The guy at the fireworks stand said that they were equal to a quarter stick of dynamite. I don't know if that was true or not but I do know if you put one in the mail box to see what would happen someone was getting a whipping.

J Bogan said...

Heh. How about some cheap helium balloons, some M80s, a cigarette as a delay fuse, and a slightly breezy evening....Chaos in Rockville.

burt said...

NH - fireworks are legal. Heck, there's a biiiiiig store down the street that sells bang-bang stuff all year long. Folks set them off for the 4th, Labor Day, Christmas, New Years... and sometimes, just for general principles.

Even in mostly liberal New England, there are occasional rays of hope...

armedlaughing said...

I do...

Happy (belated) Indedpendence Day, my friend!

gfa