Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Firecracker, Firecracker, boom, boom, boom

Every fourth of July, I make it my personal responsibility to have a heart attack as I watch people set off firecrackers. This doesn't make anyone safer. But somehow it makes me feel like I've done my patriotic duty.

So I tell small children: "That sparkler is the temperature of molten lava. Put shoes on. Do not catch the parachute mid-air. Where there's smoke (bombs) there's fire. Don't touch the tank. It's liable to go off again at any time. Consider the ashy snakes to be as dangerous as an actual fire. Or an actual snake. Johnny, you see where the other children are standing? I want you back 50 yards farther."

I have to keep my eye on that one. Johnny would catch a flaming rocket--just to have it as a souvenir.

Not that anyone was setting off trajectories, or anything. But even the kiddie firecrackers make me nervous.

It doesn't help that I have three boys. They just like firecrackers more than girls. At a party this week, even the grown up boys were hootin' and hollerin' over the firecrackers.

"Throw it in the puddle," they'd tell the grown up putting on the show. "Woah. It still goes off in the water!"

Meanwhile, the wives would yell to their husbands, "Don't throw that!" and suggest to their children, "Let's go find you a piece of cake," when it was time to light the sparklers.

Johnny must think I love firecrackers. Wherever they are, I am.

"Mom, I have to show you something," he told me last night. "Look what this tank did to this one. Awesome."

"Let's take a farther look at that," I told him.

When I'm ready to have a hamburger instead of a heart attack, I make the boys come inside with me. Maybe daddy would like an opportunity to see the firecrackers, I tell them.

I know some people say, leave the fireworks to the professionals, but I don't trust them either. Everytime I watch a show it seems like the boat or something catches on fire.

J.J. had the right idea last night when we watched a city fireworks display. He started crying and looking around as if to ask, "Why did people bring out their lawnchairs to watch this war? We're being bombed here, people. Move out."

"No, it's fun," I assured him. "See, pretty."

"How do they do that?" Johnny asked, clearly trying to determine if he could put on his own large fireworks display next year.

"It's gun powder, right?" I ask Justin.

I vaguely remember a college professor telling our history class that Western Civilization was the best. Why? "The Chineze had gun powder in ancient times," he said. "They made fireworks." You'd think that would be an argument for Eastern civilization being the best. You know, because fireworks are pretty. And guns are deadly. But, anyway...It turns out I was all wrong.

"They're made of stars and wood," Richie said of fireworks.

That explains his interest in firecrackers. I'd be mesmerized, too, if I thought I was watching stars blast out of toilet paper rolls.

On the way home from the fireworks display, Johnny asked, "How many fourth of July's are there this year?"

"Just the one," I said, breathing a sigh of relief. I love our country, just not the heart attack that comes with celebrating its birth.


Anonymous mom said...

you could have laid on your childhood bed last night and watched the Country Clubish display going on behind us. It was so beautiful - it had to be illegal!!! Glad that your kids had fun anyway!!

7:52 AM  

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