Sunday, July 05, 2015
Started thinking about 4th of July and summer when I was a kid. I think when I was really young...kindergarten age...that we had boiled hot dogs for dinner, probably with buns and ketchup, mustard and pickle relish. For veggies we most likely had carrot and celery sticks crisped in a glass of ice water and, if we were lucky, Mom made potato salad. Iced tea would have been in our cups. Fresh, ripe peaches, maybe with some sugar cookies, would have been a likely dessert. When we were a little older I remember one 4th of July when Dad purchased some fire works. My brother would have been 7 or 8 and my sister a year younger. I would have been 5 or 6 and the next two down about 2 and 3 so they mostly watched the fun.
Before it was dark Dad nailed a pinwheel firework up on one of the maple trees. We were given these little boxes of snakes...a kind of firework I guess. We made sure we were on the sidewalk and my brother lit a match and held it to the side of this little black pellet. As the fire took hold, a snake shaped gray ash emerged from the pellet. Sometimes it would even wrap around the matchstick and carry it along as the ash snake grew longer and longer until the pellet was used up. I was really fascinated with those snakes.
As the evening grew darker we began seeing the fireflies glowing on and off, on and off as they flew around. When it was dark enough, but not full dark, Dad had each of us hold the end of a sparkler. It was a long wire with some chemicals fused to the top third or so. We would hold it over the flame as Dad also kept it steady until it began to throw off bright white sparkles of fire. We made sure to keep the burning tip away from others and mostly drew circles with it as the sparkles made their way down the wire. When it burned out, we thrust the hot end into the bucket of sand Dad had at his feet.
The last and most exciting part was when Dad lit the fuses for the pinwheel and it spun around shooting out white and red and blue sparks as it turned. Once that was finished he lit the top of each fountain fire work. The sparks shot straight up toward the tree tops, spread a bit like a fountain at the top.
By that time we were pretty tired and ready to get ready for bed. As we grew up I think that we sometimes had a game of kick the can in the dark back yard, with the fireflies keeping up their random glowing.