I can’t begin to tell you how many fun memories surround this holiday. I have a nephew who is more like a brother to me than a nephew, and he loves fireworks! Growing up on a farm gave us more freedoms than city living and that meant we could shoot off fireworks, both the small and the BIG ones! One in particular 4th of July sticks out in my memory. At the time, I was living in Kansas with my two children and we had come back home to Iowa for a visit over the July 4th holiday. My nephew had made a trip to Missouri to purchase a plethora of fireworks. The Missouri border was not far from our farm so easy access meant lots and lots of fireworks! Across the road from my childhood home was a wide open grassy field that proved to be perfect for a fireworks display.
This story happened a long time ago but as I recall, my parents were in their 80’s. Even though they were both healthy, my mom sat in the cab of the pickup to watch the fireworks display, while my dad was running around with us like a kid in a candy store. We were having so much fun shooting off the fireworks; plus, the anticipation of how they would take off and where they would land was exhilarating! Sometimes we would hide behind the truck just to make sure we weren’t hit and lit up like a Christmas tree! Using the bed of the pickup as a holding station for all the fireworks, we didn’t even think that my mother, who was sitting in the cab of the pickup, could be in harms way. She was enjoying watching us as much as the fireworks, besides she had a perfect seat to view the magnificent array of colors. Can you guess what happened next? My nephew lit a rocket that was supposed to go 100 feet in the air, explode, then produce a parachute. Well, this particular rocket upon lighting, decided to make a horizontal flight straight to the bed of the truck. To our shock and amazement, the rocket exploded in the bed of the pickup and set off ALL the remaining fireworks we had stored there! I can still see the childlike look on my mom’s face as she watched what was directly happening behind her with only a window separating her from danger. We all ran like banshees and hid behind anything we could find, while my mom sat bravely, motionless in awe. I will never forget what pure joy looks like as I witnessed my mom’s face on that 4th of July. What a good laugh this story has brought to many family gatherings over the years! In retrospect, so many times, fearful incidents in life can be retold later as memorable, funny stories over and over again. I love my memory of that 4th of July as we celebrated not only our great country’s freedom from “taxation without representation” but also a family commemoration of love, laughter, and devotion. Happy Independence Day to Everyone! Make some memories of your own to cherish forever!