Remembering the 4th of July as a Childby Tyler Woods on Jul. 02, 2012, under Life
Today is Monday. Some people have the day off because it is believed July 4th should be a three day weekend, while others are working hard and will take the actual 4th of July off. I have no problems either way. I do not drink and party, I do not do fireworks because of the fire hazards. What I do love about the 4th of July are the memories I have of the 4th of July as a child, and it got me thinking…
When I was a kid living in Tucson, doing 4th of July was a big deal. There were fireworks all over town. I think as a kid I have seen fireworks in places such as the Pima County Fairgrounds, The U of A, Randolph Park, A Mountain, and a variety of other places in town but the best firework display I ever saw was the one’s my father did on the ranch.
We lived on a 40-acre non-working ranch. There was a lot of land, and a great deal of “safe” places for dad to do his firework show. He would have an arsenal of fireworks that he smuggled across the border. I think half the fun of July 4 when I was a kid was the fact that what we were doing was illegal.
My parents were law-abiding citizens, they would never do anything to break the law, well except to smuggle fireworks. My father made a big deal about it too. He would purchase his fireworks, and then hide them in a variety of items he got in Mexico. Once he brought me a guitar and filled it with fireworks. I felt like I was his accomplice in crime.
Getting ready for July 4 when I was growing up meant a lot to me because it meant BBQ hotdogs and hamburgers, potato salad, bake beans, Jell-O molds, and cupcakes with red, white and blue sprinkles. We would stuff ourselves silly with junk food. It was part of the 4th of July ritual. Eat junk food until you think you are going to puke!
My father would remind us kids he was going to have his own firework display. He would start early by lighting off firecrackers. I knew it was illegal so for me, it was not only fun, but it felt naughty, which made it even more fun. Right before sunset, he would light off an M-80, my entire body would vibrate, my ears would ring, and the jell-o in my tummy would wiggle. I knew it was a signal for our own little firework show to begin.
Dad had bottle rockets and he used the Pleasure Time bottles to set them off. My mother hated that because she was a penny pincher and she thought it would ruin the bottle and she would not get her deposit back, but that did not stop dad from lining up the bottles and sticking the rockets in them. My mother was sure dad would lose a finger, hand, or even his head, but her paranoia and nagging never stopped him from setting off the rockets.
As he set off rockets, he gave my sister and I each a box of sparklers. We loved our sparklers and we would put one in each hand and write in the sky. My father had black snakes, whistlers, pinwheels, firecrackers, smoke bombs, bottle rockets or Romaine candles, and his cherry bombs aka M-80′s. I never saw my father talk much or smile, but on July 4, for just a few minutes, he was king of the hill and master of the household.
Those days are gone. He has dementia and on most days does not remember what day it is little long the memories of 4th of July. I on the other hand have a great deal of memories and cherish them dearly. It was the one time of year that dad gave my sister and I a sense of adventure and excitement.
Now that fireworks are legal, for me, it is not as fun anymore. I loved feeling naughty as a kid and thinking I was breaking the law and the rush it gave me. I loved that afterwards, dad would take us to see a display somewhere in town and watch them up close. For me, it was more fun than Christmas.
I enjoy remember July 4 as a child and the sensation it gave me. For me, it was what memories were made of. What is your favorite memory of July 4 when you were younger? Well happy 4th everyone!