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Fireworks and the Fourth of July-Forever

GAYS MILLS - The Fourth of July has just passed us (well not me, as I am writing to you from back in June) and I hope to report in my upcoming column(s) about an entertaining holiday spent celebrating America’s independence.

Thatcher has yet to enjoy any real fireworks shows. As seems to be the case with turning two, there are so many more cool things in the world that you were just a blob of a human during the years previous. 

On his first Fourth of July, we took him to a friend’s home whose parents live at Black Hawk Park in De Soto. We were promised an epic boat parade and fireworks display.

The boat parade was more of what I imagine when someone says ‘Redneck Yacht Club.’ It was entertaining, but not the grand affair that I had expected. However, I did hear a rousting rendition of Lee Greenwood’s ‘God Bless the U.S.A.’ about 20 times. It subsequently filled me with national pride for days, as I could not get it unstuck from my brain’s private radio.

Last year, I believe we had every intention of taking him to the Gays Mills fireworks show, but, like so many young kids do, he fell asleep well before the 9 p.m. show time. And like so many overtired parents, we probably did too.

However, I have a feeling this year will be the big moment for him. After seeing him handle his first parade at Dairy Days like a pro, I am convinced that he’s really ready to engage in the serious business of summertime entertainment.

I don’t think I’ve met anyone who can say “meh, I don’t really like fireworks”—unless you’re a dog. It is safe to say that I don’t think I’ve ever met a K9, who was particularly excited about the Fourth of July.

When we were growing up we had a tiny, little frail poodle dog, named Sissy (for some odd reason my mom registered her AKC papers as Emily’s Little Sister.) Sissy would cower under the sofa whenever we would have the Grand Schendel Fireworks Extravaganza.  In retrospect, I wish we would have showered her with pieces of cheese and turned up the TV—so she couldn’t hear the terrifying booms. Now, I know better and can offer this PSA to other pet owners. Spoil the dog and give them something comforting before you make all your fireworks go BOOM.

The Fourth at my house growing up was always a bit out of hand. Especially the years my mom had to work and wasn’t home to supervise the chaos.

 My dad is kind of a big kid himself. So when we were carefully selecting unicorn fountains and jumping jacks, my dad was counting the cash in his wallet to see if he had enough money for the big kahuna of fireworks, which were probably only semi-illegal.

One story that I think has shown up in this column before, is the year my dad’s cousin Andy ventured south to Arkansas to purchase illegal fireworks. I guess it’s not surprising that Arkansas has apparently much more relaxed fireworks laws than Wisconsin.

Andy stuffed his little S10 pickup with the topper to the brim full of these illegal fireworks. Everything you could imagine big and small and we commenced to setting them off left and right. There came a point where we were setting of two or three different units at a time, just because there were SO many to get through.

The next day so many undone bottle rockets, fire crackers, and more lay scattered amongst the skeletons of burnt up selections that my brother and I commenced to scavenging and creating our own Frankenstein creations.

Fireworks are so spectacular and fun, it’s a wonder why we don’t set them off more often?

Once when I interviewed Roberta at Cheapo Depot in Readstown about the Fourth and fireworks she just kept saying, “Fireworks aren’t only for the Fourth.”

At first I thought “what a weird thing to say.” Then, it all made sense. We do seem to save all of our explosive joy for that one day of the year, when in reality, what better way to kick back and relax than to watch some colorful explosions in our own backyard?

Perhaps in this era of not enjoying the simple things as much as we used to enjoy them, we should include a movement to indulge in more wholesome fireworks fun—even if it just means busting out the sparklers every once in awhile and running around the yard with the fireflies.