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BLAST FROM THE PAST REMEMBERING MONAST 4TH OF JULY TRADITIONS
Did you know an old M-80 firework has as much explosive power as a quarter stick of dynamite? This is what I was always told, and while it might be an urban legend, it makes you rethink those childhood memories of playing with fireworks. When I was a kid, Fourth of July was spent at the family lake cabin in Oklahoma. We’d go swimming in the lake, waterski, barbecue, and play with fireworks. I loved throwing cherry bombs in the lake. Something in the fuse would keep the firework lit even after it went underwater. They would go down about 10 feet and explode underwater with this bright flash of light and a deep “whomp” sound. It was really cool to see at night. Another Fourth of July fireworks tradition we did to entertain ourselves as kids — and one I don’t recommend today — was sticking Black Cat fireworks under a tin can and watching how high the can would fly into the air. We’d attach more and more fireworks and send the can higher and higher. One year, my brother Allen, who had just gotten out of the Marine Corps, had the genius idea to stick an M-80 under a can to really get some air. Warning: The next part of this story isn’t for the squeamish. “Thankfully, bodily harm wasn’t a common feature of my family’s Fourth of July celebrations.” After Allen lit the firework, he began to walk away when the M-80 went off. The can exploded and sent shrapnel flying straight through his hand. That’s the kind of thing
that could have really messed up his hand. Fortunately, our mom was a tough woman. She grew up on a farm in Iowa and didn’t even blink at that kind of injury. Mom took Allen into the concrete lake house to pull out the shards of metal and clean the wound with iodine. From across the cove, I could hear my brother the Marine screaming and hollering the whole time. Needless to say, he never did that again. Thankfully, bodily harm wasn’t a common feature of my family’s Fourth of July celebrations. Back when I was a Cub Scout, I would march in our small town’s annual
My daughter Whitney with her husband Robby at the Red, White, Boom celebration in Colombus.
parade. Later, when my own sons were in the Boy Scouts, we’d march alongside them in the neighborhood parades as one of the troop dads drove a restored WWII Jeep. These days, I enjoy heading out to the riverfront for Columbus’ Red, White, and Boom fireworks display. It’s really extravagant and a big upgrade from the fireworks we’d watch at the boy’s club ballfield when I was a kid. Of all the Fourth of July traditions, I look forward to the cookouts the most. I love grilling up some brats and getting together with the family and old friends. There’s a sense of patriotic pride as we remember a time when our country was a little more united and realize we live in a pretty good place.
There’s a lot to love about this holiday. However you and your family celebrate, may you enjoy a fun, memorable, and safe Fourth of July!
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