Monday, June 29, 2009

It Was a Blast

We're approaching the Fourth of July - Independence Day - when we look for our annual
fireworks celebrations. We had one not far from our condo a weekend ago and it was a pretty
good display considering that there were trees and the base chapel hiding a major part of the
low-level display. But what we could see was great. By the way, the display was a part of
what Oscoda calls its "Red, White, and Blue Festival" This weekend was the annual art show
on the beach and next weekend will feature the township fireworks display at the park in the
center of town. Later in the month are a couple of major canoe races and a Native American
Pow-wow. And I don't want to ignore the Yankee Air Force Museum fly-in and USO dance. Who says small towns don't have a bunch of celebrations during the summertime?

When I think of the Fourth of July I think back to the late 1930's (last century) when fireworks
were different and in most states were legal. In one place I remember tissue paper balloons
with candles floating up along the Hudson River. (I don't remember whether they set
any fires but balloons like that (containing incendiary bomblets) were sent up from submarines off the West Coast and came down in Washington and Oregon forests.

It may have been 1939 r 1940 that New York State outlawed most firework. However, I was not going to allow the State ban on fireworks to end my holiday celebration. I made my own.
I tried to buy gunpowder at the local hardware and they wouldn't sell it to a little kid. So I bought up box after box of the big wooden kitchen matches, cut off the heads and glued them together. Then these big bundles of match heads were put on small rafts, lit, and floated on the
stream behind the house. When the bundles of match heads flared up there was applause from family members sitting on the lawn looking over the pool behind the house. The State of New York was not going to do my celebration in.

Well, it wasn't the fourth of July but later in life I was involved in a church play and I was tasked
with creating a flash in a fireplace (A 'Devil and Daniel Webster' special effect). This time I used regular gunpowder and the first try did not create enough flash and smoke. So my second try I used a significantly larger amount of gunpowder (almost filled a pie pan) and this time the flash
was huge and the entire basement of the church was filled with smoke. It was gently suggested that I not involve myself with pyrotechnics again.

And I must sat that there are times that I find it hard tom get past the fireworks stands and displays even now. Guess you can take the fireworks away the old boy -- but it's hard to take the old boy away from the Fourth of July celebration. Know what I mean?

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