WeekendCoffee Fireworks

coffeeshareIf we were having coffee today we’d probably catch up on our respective Fourth of July festivities.  I generally remain pretty sedate about such celebrating, maybe a little cooking out, along with some intensive movie watching.  It’s almost too hot to do anything else.  We went to a small cookout at a family member’s place and, on the way home, we managed to catch sight of a few of the local town’s fireworks.  Once I got home, I was amazed that quite a few neighbors were shooting off some pretty good fireworks themselves.  We’ve generally don’t have too much of this around here since fireworks are very illegal in NC. This was the most I’ve seen in a while.  Thankfully, our dog Daisy does not seem to be bothered by the explosions.

I grew up in Texas where there was a serious demarcation line between city and county.  It was illegal to sell, possess, and use in the city, out in the county it was okay.  It’s a bit like the old wet-county, dry-county thing … twice a year, just outside the city limits, temporary plywood fireworks stands would suddenly appear just before New Year’s Eve or Independence Day.  Imagine, an entire cottage industry for two days a year.

My parents were not major proponents.  We never, not once, made the yearly pilgrimage to the fireworks stands.  As a result, this fledgling pyromaniac had to resort to scavenging.  The Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve meant two things to me: July 5 and January 1.  I’d head out early both of those days and prowl the nearby streets of our subdivision.  I found out early on that there were leftovers which were easy-pickings to someone industrious enough to seek them out.

I reasoned that those large strings of firecrackers would often blow a small percentage of individual units away from the group. Not duds, mind you, but fully functional explosive devices that fate had spared from certain explosive extinction.  I’d generally find dozens of these lying about, unnoticed and unforgotten in the late-night festivities. There were other things too.  At the time I was amazed at the bounty of bottle rockets and other small items that would have been overlooked.  I know now that, sadly, Mr. Stumpy and Old Man Lefty were likely drunk when they were shooting them off, so it was easy to miss a few out of the bag in the orgy of pyrotechnics they were intent on exploiting.

I even found a way to utilize “dud” firecrackers. If you broke them in two, you could light the innards and they’d be like earth-bound rockets, spewing jets of sparkly and intense flame. Fizzlers I called them.

So the day after both holidays were my day of celebrating.

As long as my mom didn’t find out.

What about where you live or have lived?


Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina, where most fireworks are illegal although they try to assuage the masses by allowing some really lame ones that are even sold in grocery stores.  If you want the really good stuff, you have to try to illegally import from south of the border … South Carolina.

His latest novel, Lucky Strike, is coming in October 2019. Info on his writing is available at http://thefensk.com

12 thoughts on “WeekendCoffee Fireworks

  1. Hi Thomas,
    Great story here where my loyalties fall with the kid in the story. I live in Sydney, Australia and we had fire cracker nights when I was a kid for Guy Fawkes Night. My favourites were ones with parachutes inside them and the showers. I think we might’ve bought them from the supermarket. However, the laws were changed and they were banned due to accidents. A guy I knew at uni had lost an eye after a kid threw a firecracker his way and his mother was behind the ban. I wouldn’t want my kids playing around with them.
    There was one firecracker night where we went round to Mum’s friend’s house for a BBQ. This was the hey day of kids being not seen and not heard. We’d collected all the old firecrackers and emptied out the gunpower into a bucket in the laundry and added water and detergent and mixed this explosive mix up into a delightful stew or potion. Eventually, Mum’s friend must’ve twigged that silence wasn’t golden and we got busted. Fond memories…
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, the twin notions of kids being seen but not heard and kids with firecrackers … I love the ironic juxtaposition. Opposite ends of the spectrum. As a parent, I have to say your Mum’s friend sounds very wise indeed. Thanks, great comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have been thinking further about that scenario at mum’s friend’s house. It wasn’t my parents who came and sprung us. They were quite laissez faire and my dad wanted us to think for ourselves which he regretted a bit when we were teenagers and he would have appreciated more compliance.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Thomas. Fun stuff indeed. My parents weren’t as strict until one year when some hand held object intended to spray sparks everywhere malfunctioned in my 10 year old hand and mom descended – changing all the family rules to protect us from further injury. At this point, dad started sneaking me a handful of fire crackers most years to make sure a few dangerous memories were made.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. In UK, we have an annual celebration of what, today, would be counted as a terrorist attack. Guido Fawkes and his gang tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament. They were caught and executed. Every 5th November, we “traditionally” build large bonfires with an effigy of Guy (Guido) Fawkes on the top and set them alight, firing off huge firework displays.
    We also seem to set off fireworks at any excuse: New Year, Birthdays, Anniversaries…..
    I would like to see them at least licensed, if not, banned, for two reasons. They terrify the pets (and some Vets) and they cosy a fortune which could be much better spent on the likes of healthcare, education or combatting poverty.
    Call me a spoilsport, if you like, but that’s the way I feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tend to agree with you. I was just lamenting some of my youthful indescretions. I know about the Guy Fawkes day celebrations. I’m surprised we don’t celebrate it here. You know, any excuse to drink excessively and blow stuff up.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. What a resourceful kid you were! As it is in a kid’s world, if mom ever found out how resourceful you were there would be major consequences. Fun post.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It is interesting because I was just involved in a conversation a few days ago about fireworks. Growing up in Ontario we had fireworks shows that we could go to for certain holidays that were put on by parks and such. They were big fun shows. We were camping this weekend in Alberta and there wasn’t a whisper of fireworks.

    Great coffee post. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. In Oregon the laws on fireworks are pretty strict, it’s a restriction (unless you have a permit) on fireworks that “fly into the air, explode, or travel more than 12 feet horizontally on the ground.”
    Which means everyone in the Metro Area just hops across the river to Vancouver, WA, in order to buy the “good stuff.”

    Liked by 1 person

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