Independence Day is here, and as expected, celebrations of picnics, cookouts, and truckloads of rednecks fueled by the Big Boy sized beer setting fire to things that will blow up are in full force.
Nothing says Freedom like an intoxicated man named Bubba Earl flicking the long lighter and trying to set fire to a fuse the size of a tapeworm that's dancing in the breeze like amber waves of grain. Come dusk, hoards of folks will gather in the shadows of school parking lots to Oooh! Aaaah! and splash a pitcher of, let’s say, lemonade on the proceedings should the pyrotechnics or Bubba Earl get out of hand.
That’s what’s great about the South. It is legal to purchase fireworks in the state of South Carolina without presenting so much as an IQ score to the authorities. The people of South Carolina are perfectly within their rights to light themselves up like the space shuttle leaving for star-spangled skies, and other people have to content themselves with following safety standards and obeying the laws of common sense.
There’s something about not know whether the next bottle rocket will explode in the night sky in a sparkling array of gemstone colored glitz or skim down the pavement toward the spectators like a heat seeking ferret on steroids to make you appreciate what went on at the battle of Bunker Hill.
My apprehension might be due to a small mishap last year when a sidewalk-skidding bottle rocket came close to crossing my Reeboks at a steady clip and lighting up my inseam like a birthday candle. But after all, what is Independence Day for if not for celebrating with an impromptu break dance in the handicapped parking section of the schoolyard? I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say the Boston Harbor gang has nothing on me when it comes to open air tea parties.
Uncle Joe is revered around these parts as sort of an expert on the subject of fireworks, having set his leg on fire on at least one occasion in the time honored tradition, and is well-respected in the backyard pyrotechnic community. If this year goes according to tradition, we’ll have quite a few stories and a modicum of minor injuries.
Not too many years ago we shunned his backyard display for an extravaganza taking place just past the intersection and before the blinking red light on the edge of town. Luckily it was held at the fire department because when the pasture caught on fire and all the fireworks went off at once, we didn’t even get 911 dialed before Tiny and Pork Chop responded to the blaze.
So this year we’ll probably go back to Uncle Joe’s. At least he restricts the damage to his own self, as a gentleman should.
I’ll take along an extra pair of pants. And some bandaids.