Independence Daze

Like most men, my husband has an infatuation with things that carry potential to inflict bodily harm, so why would fireworks packaged in brightly colored boxes at Walmart be any different? And those are the legal ones. Our friendly neighboring state is kind enough to sell the illegal variety right off the interstate.

For several years I was able to limit him to the legal, albeit dangerous, assortment from Walmart. With exception of a few minor mishaps, those were pretty uneventful. That is, until a friend from work gave him a half a stick of dynamite. The details of that exchange are still unclear. I have no idea why a friend would have dynamite, why the topic was ever brought up in normal conversation, or how in the hell he ended up gifting it to him. And I'm embarrassed to admit that the dynamite lived in one of my kitchen drawers for several months. I'd like to think I'm smarter now. But I thought he'd forgotten about it. Little did I know the plans he had in mind.

Enter July 4th, 2000. He duct taped that dynamite to a bottle rocket from Walmart in the middle of the street in our crowded neighborhood. I don't know what he thought would happen, but I can tell you what did happen. As expected, his preparations drew a large curious crowd. Duct tape, dynamite, a bottle rocket…yeah, a crowd is a no-brainer. The stage was set and the wicks were lit.

Here's a life tip. The explosive with the shortest wick will detonate first. That being said, the bottle rocket was the first to go, but instead of shooting up, the weight of the dynamite pulled it down and straight through the crowd, who scattered just as the bottle rocket hit the front porch of the house on the corner, then the dynamite detonated, and their perfectly good set of patio furniture exploded before our eyes. By the time the smoke cleared, my husband was hiding inside our house, repeating, "I'm going to jail, I'm going to jail."
Hey Chucko, remember that crowd out there? Those are witnesses.
I eventually convinced him that his only option was to go over to that house, apologize profusely for blowing up their furniture, and pay for the damages. I was the one hiding in the house as he dragged himself across the street and was surprised when he returned just a few minutes later and happily announced, "Great news! They were evicted two weeks ago!"

He was much more careful in the years to follow. There was a small lapse in judgment in 2001 when he threw what he thought were 'duds' into our bonfire pit. Turns out they weren't duds, and a month later, we were taking cover under our lawn chairs when we thought someone opened fire on us while we were roasting hot dogs.

But things went terribly wrong again in 2003, when he decided to go to that friendly neighboring state and load up on 'big ones' for my family get together. Did you know that there is a firework that, once lit, shoots off twelve rounds in a row? Did you know that after it’s lit, there's no way to stop the process until it's over? Did you know that if it tips over from the force of the first shot, that the force of each shot thereafter will continue to flip it in different directions causing a catastrophic game of 'Firework Russian Roulette?' Well, see, now you know.

With all of that in mind, my husband single-handedly almost killed off my entire side of the family, who stood on my uncle's porch in a state of shock, watching each explosion like a deadly tennis match, and counting down from twelve. If not for quick reflexes and military training, my cousin wouldn't be here today. My other cousin ran with her baby to the basement, as though it were Armageddon. After the twelfth and final shot, we breathed a collective sigh of relief, and for several seconds nobody spoke until my Mamaw Putter finally broke the silence and said, "Where'd you find the kind that shoot off to the side like that?" 
At least someone was impressed.

There is an absolutely no fireworks rule at our house now. A couple years ago, we had to expand that rule to ban him from even helping with fireworks, after he assisted our neighbor with his display and a flaming firework landed back into the box of unlit fireworks, detonating them all, and sending everyone flying for shelter.

Stay safe out there peeps.