You can know anything. It's all there. You just have to find it.

-Neil Gaiman


Monday, July 7, 2008

Rocket's red glare

I loved the 4th of July as a kid (my favorite holiday behind Christmas and Halloween). First off, it was summer, therefore no school. We would swim all day at the pool or the lake, eat hotdogs and potato chips like they were going out of style, and drink as much soda as we could stand. We would usually see a parade, decorate our bicycles and wagons with craypaper, and drive down to Lake Michigan at night for the firework show. At home we would go nuts with sparklers, bottle rockets, whipper snappers, fire crackers, smoke bombs, roman candles, black cats, butterfly fountains, and those weird snake things that grew after you lit them. The driveway would be scorched with huge burn marks and the lovely scent of gunpowder and sulfur would hang in the air.

I descend from a long line of pyromaniacs.

My father liked to tell us stories how he and his cousin Jeffrey would have roman candle fights when he was a kid. Basically, they would run after each other with a lit candle and try to "tag" each other with the burning hot globs that shot out of it. He said you didn't want to get tagged because the fire globs would stick to your clothes, sorta like napalm.

Really. That is good advice in case you need to know it someday.

He also told us that he and Jeffrey blew up an outhouse out in Longmont, Colorado, where my father would go with his family to visit relatives for summer vacation. And he would hang out with Jeffrey, the slightly-crazy older cousin. I asked what they used to blow up an outhouse.

"We put an M-80 down the toilet."
"What's an M-80?"
"Ohhh, about a quarter stick of dynamite."
"Huh. Did you get caught?"
"Ummm, no?"
"Well, I think they were suspicious, but, you know..." He shrugs. "Times were different back then."
"I guess."

I never met cousin Jeffrey, but I can see him doing something similar to this guy.

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