Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th








Travel back with me to a time when being a kid was very different.  Back when the "4th of July" was a kid holiday filled with noise.
The neighbors started off their day by lighting firecrackers, sometime put in tin cans and place under a sleeping sibling's bed.  Considering they were nearly middle aged, ancient by my standards then, and had done this every year for decades, I thought they were pretty darn cool.   There were never firecrackers at my house, which was probably a good idea with a daredevil like me around.
Yes, well, we were content to light those little black pellets that
 when lit with a match  burned and grew into slightly smelly black shapes that looked a bit like snakes, my Dad brought them home in his lunch pail,  we used so many of them,  I can remember going into town on the 4th to buy more because we ran out. And that was a terrible thing!!!!!    The little black marks left on the sidewalk lasted for several months, and that was also a part of their charm.  I tried to save the 'snakes' in a cigar box once, but before long they were nothing but black dust.


If it wasn't raining my Dad would let me put Little American flags into the holders  affixed to the posts on the front porch.  I didn't know why exactly we did that, but I thought it was beautiful, like a parade.  Going to the parade was pretty neat, for a few cents one could get a red white and blue plastic rosette, those pins were worn until they fell apart, right next to our Heinz pickle pins.
  Every house on our street had at least one flag. 



When we weren't lighting snakes we were playing cowboy, firing our cap guns and pretending to hunt down the bad guys or robbing pretend bank so we could be the bad guy.  You always had your cap gun, but rolls of caps were pricy and generally, at least in my neighborhood reserved for the 4th of July.  By the end of the day we all had a fine crop of  red marks and blisters caused by the sputter of igniting black powder,  anyway those kids who were lucky enough to have several rolls of caps did.
We were also afflicted with ringing in our ears from the sound.  But that came in handy later that evening when the deafening fireworks went off.   At some point there were hot dogs and hamburgers, but that was a minor thing because we were all having too much fun to eat.          Lest I forget before the fireworks put on by the city there were the Roman candles and Fiery Fountains set off by the grown-ups for the delight of children of all ages.    Can't forget the sparklers  we twirled and whirled the glowing wire core as the sparks stung our hands and arms. That glowing core that we tossed carelessly could make unwary flesh sizzle or start a fire in the lawn.   One year the newsstand sold sparklers that were a yard long, what a delight that would be, if only the heat they generated didn't melt the wire core sending molten metal dripping to the ground.   One year we hadcolored sparklers, which weren't really colored even if you used you imagination.
The first volley of professional fireworks was set off at about 9:30, to see if the sky was dark enough.  Soon 'Oohs and Ahhs" would echo all throught the valley as the glorious lights exploded, then floated back to earth like so many tiny stars.    Soon the sky filled with what looked to me like glittering flowers, the sound was overwhelming and I could feel it in my feet, and my chest,  and then it was over.
The valley became still , traffic started moving again, the excitement disappeared and couldn't wait for next year.   It would be even better I was sure of that.


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Haiku ~~~sight unseen

Still, misty, warm night air century plant blossoms, so white look! a tiny sparkle