Fourth of July!

[A timely Holiday repeat from July 2, 2017]

On this Independence Day eve, here’s a distillation of a few prior posts on a subject near to my heart.  

Fireworks? Firecrackers? Cherry bombs? Should they be legal? In Wisconsin, fireworks stores seem to outnumber cows.  Weekend festivities are often punctuated by the staccato of firecrackers or the magnificent boom of larger devices.

In 1956, the Hungarian Revolution began.  My 9 year old pals and I learned about “Molotov cocktails.”  So we thought – why not?   We filled pop bottles with gasoline, stuffed a rag in the top and lit it — tossing the bottle into Weller creek.  WOW!!   Spectacular eruptions of flames (not to mention the bumblebee whiz of shards of glass and rocks).   

I was a bomb maker.  We’d break open firecrackers, shake out the fulminate of mercury powder into cigar tubes with homemade fins, balance them on an incline and then light a fuse sending the “rocket” skyward or sometimes just bouncing along the ground.  Then we put “Lady Finger” [firecrackers] in the nose.  Wow!  These would end with an airborne explosion.  We would grab handfuls of match books at the local pharmacy and snip the heads off.  And stuff match heads into thin pipes, shaking in the fulminate powder for more incendiary displays.  And bombs.  We made cannons stuffed with BB’s held in place by dripping candle wax.  And once a hand grenade – using Slaymaker lock dial.  Every boy had a supply of firecrackers, cherry bombs, M-80’s and such.  And my neighborhood was frequently ripped with massive explosions.  

I am aware of the arguments of some armchair howlers (“what about accidents?” “they can blow your finger off!”).  Puh-lease.  Wisconsin and 39 other states have it right on fireworks. Illinois – not surprisingly – marches to the wrong drummer.