When I was a kid, each summer I spent hundreds of dollars on fireworks. But about 20 years ago, it occurred to me that it seems pretty strange to celebrate our freedom by sending billions of dollars to a communist country.
Not only that, but it’s bizarre that we show how much we love our country by setting large chunks of it on fire.
So between the crazy amount of money we send to China and the danger of setting the prairie ablaze, I’ve had an informal fireworks boycott for the last few decades. I love watching fireworks, and I’ve missed lighting them myself, but you’ve got to have some principles.
But my principles only go as far as the real boss of the household lets them go. She understands my objections, but she also wants the kids to get the full Fourth of July experience. And you can’t get that without risking life and limb by putting a match to the fuse of a Flaming Spear or a Pyro Pinnacle. It’s even better if as you’re sprinting away from the pyrotechnics, you accidentally knock it over so that the flaming projectiles chase you.
I have to admit, I’m kind of happy for the excuse to at least take a break from my fireworks boycott. Having kids of my own has brought back some of the kid that’s still inside me, and if I get the chance, I’d like to show the boys how much fun it is to drop a lit string of Black Cats into an empty 55-gallon drum.
My only fear is that lifting the self-imposed fireworks ban may rekindle the fireworks addiction I had when I was a kid. At least back home in Riverton, there were only a few weeks of the year when I could replenish my fireworks stash. But down here in Cheyenne, there are year-round fireworks outlets all over the place. I’ve got to be careful that I don’t wind up stopping at the one near my house on the way home from work each night, saying to myself, “just one more Roman Candle, then I’ll quit.”
Either way, though, I think the boys will get a taste of a good, old-fashioned Fourth of July. Happy Independence Day to you. And happy birthday, America!