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Monday, July 4, 2011

Red, White, & Whoops!

Independence Day is here, and as expected, celebrations of picnics, cookouts, and truckloads of rednecks fueled by the Big Boy size of canned 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. 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 home, 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 that 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 local elementary school? 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 small town extravaganza taking place just past the intersection in 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.


Unknown said...

Ah, redneck celebrations. I expect we'll be hearing the zips, booms and occasional "Oops, damn! Ow! Ow!" from the neighbors tonight. Great post, as always! Love it!

Val said...

My husband set the neighbor's field on fire one year. You'd think that cutting his head on the barbed wire fence and melting his sandal trying to stomp out the flames would have taught him a lesson. Nope.

He has shot a rocket under my mom's car, which exploded several feet from our vantage point. The rocket, not the car. He has managed to shoot a roman candle into the back of his John Deere Mule, where the rest of the fireworks were waiting their turn to explode. Another year, he handed the audience umbrellas to keep the sticks and plastic rocket cones from burning us as they fell from the sky.

He has not yet reached his zenith as an amateur. For that, he would have to surpass his professional feat of setting the entire city truck of fireworks off at the beginning of the town 4th of July celebration. It was his summer working for the city.

Lisa Allen said...

There is no way I could top Val's story; so I'll just observe that when S. Carolinians feel picked on, remember all the idiots from outside the state who drive 100's of miles to pick up bundles of fiery excitement...