Thursday, July 5, 2012


One of the things that I looked forward to each summer as a child was the Fourth of July.

I LOVED the Fourth of July.

It would always begin with my father taking my brother and I to a local fireworks stand and letting us pick out an array of fares. Each year I pretty much went for the same menagerie: lady fingers, jumping jacks, smoke bombs, tanks and a parachute man. My brother was a Black Cat kind of guy. For a period of about four days we would then pretty much spend sunup to sundown out in our driveway or at friend's houses blowing up everything we could.

Lady fingers under old coffee cans.

Smoke bombs down the storm sewer so the smoke would come out the culvert across the street.

Homemade works made from stringing together a combination of any of the above fireworks.

It wasn't truly summer until we blew something up.

So, you can imagine my dismay when I grew up and moved away and found that my new city had actually outlawed fireworks.

"Fun-haters," I said to myself. I pitied the children growing up without such an American pastime.

As the years went by, I became accustomed to the firework-less Fourth of July's.

Then came the little man.

And the return of my lamentation against the city's fireworks ban.

I wanted the little man to experience the fun I had a child. Sure, the rational parent/adult side of me understands the rationale for the ban – with the burning down of houses, bodily harm, etc. – but the nostalgic part of me wanted the little man to experience at least some of the fun I experienced as a child.

So, this week as the Fourth of July rolled around, I again found myself remember the good ol' days and wishing the little man and I had at least one smoke bomb to ignite. However, with the ongoing drought and super heat wave we've been experiencing, things are even drier than usual. Which also meant the local police department was also more vigilant and methodical in their search for fireworks rebels.

Then entered my husband – the engineer.

One of the benefits of marrying and engineer is that they can fix anything. They can also devise ways to make just about anything.

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. And when your city bans all rockets that ignite with fire, you simply make rockets powered by water and compressed air.

No flame. No explosions.

No ban.

So, after a short stop to a few stores for some PVC pipe, spray paint, Styrofoam cones and assorted pieces, the little man and the husband were quick to assemble our legal Fourth of July rockets.

And even though it isn't quite the same as when I was a child, the little man spent the day setting off his own rockets on this summer holiday.

And making the next generation of fond Fourth of July memories.

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