Sunday, July 03, 2005

THE DAY BEFORE INDEPENDENCE DAY

I'm just finishing a breathing treatment (last week, my asthma flared up), and heard a familiar sound - distant fireworks (very small). Most of the local cities have public fireworks, but there are always a few individuals who set off the small ones in their own yard.

Fireworks in Yankee country (most of us don't think of ourselves as that; Southerners disagree) are generally a tame and placid thing. Mostly set off in established venues, occasionally indulged in by teenagers.


I'm not fond of either type; too much noise, and the side effect of smoke irritates my breathing. I stay away from the formal settings, and close the windows against the rest.

One of the funnier incidents of my life was watching my husband and his brothers make fools of themselves with Roman candles one summer. It happened like this:
My husband's sister was living in Alabama at the time. Like any good transplant, she adapted to local custom, and brought some Roman candles back to PA on a trip home (hope the AFT doesn't supoena me on that violation).

They were forgotten for some time, until late one day, after the 3 gentlemen had indulged in WAY too much fermented barley, and decided to complete the day's celebration (my husband's 40th birthday) with, literally, a BANG!

The first one they lit, they had stuck in the ground. It sparked and fizzed, but stubbornly stayed there, limiting the effect. They retired to consume more beer lemonade, then returned with a plan, which they put into effect immediately.

I'd been watching these shenanagans, and was wary. I quietly filled a bucket with water, and made the kids stay at a distance.

They took their time setting up the scenario. They placed an old-fashioned glass Coke bottle on the ground, and stuck a Roman candle in it, stick end inside, and wick left to dangle in the air. They admired their ingenuity for some time, and loudly anticipated the lovely sight that we would get to behold in just a few minutes.

They lit the fuse, and eagerly awaited the soaring cylinder's launch.

Unfortunately, the force knocked the bottle over, and the candle shot around the driveway, like a fire hose accidentally released. It rolled UNDER the upstairs tenant's car, which was sitting in the driveway.

They frantically ran after it, and risked serious injury getting it out from under. God really must look after fools and drunks (they were both), as no one was hurt.

I was no help at all, as I wet my pants laughing at them.

I'll be working most of this weekend. Funds are short this month, and my sacrifice is needed. If I have the chance, I'll be watching some topical movies (some of these were found via FilmForce:
  • Independence Day - the classic
  • 1776 - seldom shown anymore, but very entertaining
  • The Patriot - what can I say? I love Mel Gibson.
  • Johnny Tremain - the Disney version is good
  • Sweet Liberty - yes, I know it's Alan Alda, but it is funny, and about historical fact vs. fiction.

I did some checking - apparently, few successful films about the American Revolution have been made. Most were overly respectful of the subject, to the extent that they were boring. Too many err the other way, diligently searching for flaws in the Founders' character, and relentlessly working to interpret their struggles in the worst possible light. Balance, apparently, is rare.



Have a wonderful Fourth, and please remember to take the time to send a message of support to the troops serving far from home.

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