Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Illuminations and the Fourth of July

The dream of being a pyrotechnic stunt person is lived in the minds and hearts of kids this day in the USA. In 1776, it was documented that we, the USA, declared our independence from Britain (also known as our Fourth of July). John Adams, one of the founding fathers of our country, wrote his wife and said this day would be an epoch day in US history and would be celebrated with "pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other..." ("Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 July 1776, ‘Had a Declaration…’". Adams Family Papers. Massachusetts Historical Society. Retrieved June 28, 2009.). What more encouragement did a kid need to celebrate by going to a firework stand and buying various forms of "illuminating devices" (aka fireworks)?

My earliest memory of the Fourth of July was playing with sparklers at my aunt's house. For those of you who do not know what a sparkler is, it is a skinny foot or foot in a half long metal rod that when lit sparks like a welders tool. All the safety measures were instilled in me like "don't put your fingers in the sparkly part.", "don't touch the metal afterwards because it will be too hot", and "don't leave them on the ground because someone could step on it.". It was always a tradition for my family and I to all go to the firework stands and buy all kinds of fireworks, go back home set them off, then go to a nearby city and see a spectacular display of pyrotechnics.

Now, this day would not be the same if I didn't highlight some of the most irresponsible moments of my childhood because everyone knows that kids + fire = disaster... Several years in a row my brothers and I would light jumping jacks (small balls of fire that jumped around on the ground) in a hollow tree in our backyard. The tree never caught on fire but when we arrived home from watching the firework show, a firetruck would be at the house dousing the smoking tree with water. The neighborhood was laden with heavy smoke not only from all the fireworks that the neighborhood kids and us were letting off but also by this decrypted old tree that was smoking! After the firetruck left, we would start firing bottle rockets across the street in a friendly battle with other neighborhood kids. Then, I can't forget the time my little brother and I caught a nearby creek on fire, but we won't go there...

Another irresponsible, yet memorable moment is when we were at my childhood best friend's house, my silly older brother (who can be very much like Clark Griswold) lit a bottle rocket which landed in his bag of fireworks. That bag would pop, sizzle, explode, and eventually catch on fire! We all laughed as we ran for cover but he was so upset! All his fireworks were all wasted! He didn't get to enjoy setting them off himself. I think we eventually went back to get him some more.

The most enjoyable moment of the Fourth of July is being at my little brothers house in the downtown area of the city that has one of the most incredible displays around the country! We woke up in the morning, drank coffee, and went to get groceries for the day's event. There were some fireworks bought but not a lot. We were about to witness a crazy awesome display! We didn't need any. So my brother and dad would BBQ burgers, links, chicken and my mom and sister would make potato salad, pasta salad, cake, corn on the cob among other items. Right before the fireworks started, my brother would cut up a watermelon with his samurai sword. Then we would all sit and watch the fireworks for 30 minutes! It was beautiful!

Those moments I truly cherish in my heart! All of them! The silly irresponsible ones to the most beautiful, chilled and laid back ones! I love my little brother very much! We've done a lot of mischievous and irresponsible things on the Fourth as kids but have had a great time as we've grown up. As much as I would love to have him with us, unfortunately he will not be able to make it due to travel issues. It just won't be the same...

Happy Fourth of July!! Until tomorrow, kindest blogging wishes

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