Our family gathers to celebrate Independence Day at our house.
There are several days of fun, food, water splashing, did I mention food? (hand cranked ice cream, watermelon, barbecued ribs) giggling, games and fireworks.
The guys take their fireworks seriously. Our state has laws against amateurs setting off flaming things that fly through the air. There are also laws against BIG explosions—mostly because they--EXPLODE!
However…we have a son in law who likes to improvise (not IED’s and not IUD’s and not roadside bombs, although he is a former marine). He and his brothers-in-law buy legal fireworks and...erm...modify them.
The result is some extra big bangs and flying things such as plastic bottles and soup cans. On the evening of July Fourth our short, dead-end street goes up in sparkles and booms. Our neighbors either join in or leave town.
Our “experts” are careful to keep the kids out of harm’s way. We had a four-color chalk line drawn across the driveway, plenty of stern warnings plus a running hose and buckets of water in case of flameage.
The first year the “modifications” happened I came home from work and found a firework factory in my dining room. Needless to say that little activity was banned to the back yard.
So it was the afternoon before the celebration. Cousins were playing on the lawn. Moms were in lawn chairs catching up on news, and the savory scent of barbecue was in the air. Son-in-Law (we’ll call him Sparky) was isolated to a table a few yards away working on making the evening’s fireworks even more spectacular. The rest of the guys had gone for
more fireworks supplies.
A popping sound focused our attention in Sparky’s direction. Small explosions were escalating to larger ones in the middle of his production area. He jumped to his feet and swept a pile of brightly colored igniting pyrotechnics to the grass. There was more popping and much stomping followed by silence.
Although the table was scorched and Sparky's shirt had some burnt spots--