Saturday, July 7, 2012

Fireworks Prohibited?!! Not a Problem!

         My favorite Fourth of July celebrations are smoke-choked affairs scented with the bewitching aroma of freshly-exploded gunpowder, illuminated only by sparks and flashes, and deafened by rolling explosions so earth-thumpingly, bone-poundingly glorious that you walk around on jelly legs hearing nothing but the ringing in your own ears for days afterwards.
          My father is the presiding genius of this sort of celebration, and also the author of our family's Absolute Best Fourth of July ever, which took place at the farm of my parents' friends, involved platoons of fireworks both licit and il-, and, after we'd burned through those, battlefield-worthy explosions produced by the simple expedient of packing a paper towel roll with A LOT of gunpowder*, sticking a fuse in, lighting it, and running away very fast.
          Along with the heart-stopping explosion, this produced a pall of smoke so thick and sulfurous that our friends' farm took on the appearance of an agricultural enterprise from the outskirts of hell. It was a Fourth of July for the ages.
          You could reasonably assume, then, that the interdiction against fireworks, flame, sparks, and even excessive friction that has been imposed on the greater state of Colorado (where I celebrated Our Nation's Birthday with my parents, sister, and her most excellent offspring) because of wildfire risk would have left me desolate—but only if you didn't know my mom, who, although not in any manner of speaking the Presiding Genius of Gunpowder-fueled Celebration, IS the Presiding Genius of All Else That is Too Fun for Words.
          Because Mom—sweet, gardening, cookie-baking Mom—put on her Special Ops hat and produced heavy artillery of the water-powered sort, chortling evilly as she did. And we all spent a warm afternoon running, yelling, and soaking each other. It was spectacular.
          If we'd been able to add gunpowder, it would have been perfect.

A temporary truce, blithely ignored by at least two of the combatants.
©Nancy E. Banks

*Because A LOT of gunpowder is just something that both my dad and his friend normally had lying around the place.

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