When I grew up, we went water skiing every Fourth of July with the Curtis family, and then we’d lie exhausted on the beach, eating cold fried chicken and my mother’s fabulous top secret potato salad. (It’s the ingredients that are top secret, not the salad itself) — this paper plate will self destruct in five seconds…
When we got home, we’d get cleaned up, eat some more and then, we’d all head over to the local elementary school to watch fireworks. I don’t remember anyone doing anything particularly stupid, except for the time my brother and his teen-aged friends almost set the fence on fire. A contraband bottle rocket gone awry.
Now, we head down to Siesta Key every year to watch fireworks on the beach. We sit on the sand, snuggled on our blankets, listening to the waves and watching the grand show over the Gulf of Mexico.
Which is lovely. Except for the fire-retardant (and not in a good way) folks who frequently express their love of country by shooting off illegal fireworks into the dry grasses and sea oats, and occasionally, the crowd.
Last year, one such reveler shot a firework into the grass and started a small fire. He scrambled over to put out the fire, accidentally setting his shoes on fire. When he finally extinguished the grass and his footwear with the help of a dad/ impromptu fireman, he wandered right back over to his laughing clan and shot off another one. Which landed in the same spot. And set the remaining uncharred grass aflame.
FireDad came to the rescue again, informing the amateur arsonist that he was on his own if the field caught fire again.
The Fourth of July is the busiest day of the year for ERs across the country.
The National Fire Protection Agency says that “nearly half the people injured by fireworks were younger than 15.” Sparklers, fountains and other “safe” fireworks accounted for 26% of the ER fireworks injuries.
Which doesn’t account for the thousands who just slap on a band-aid and guzzle another beer.
I think fireworks should be left to the professionals. But hey, that’s me.
13 Replies to “A tale of sand and idiots by Deb Lisa Daily”
We once lived on a planned community street with several 20-something couples who had made way too much money in the dot com boom. Every Fourth of July, a couple of the guys would guzzle some beers and head for the state line, where they dropped more than $500 on bigtime fireworks. These would be shot off, after many, many more beers and the contents of a rented margarita machine, at the intersection of our street and the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare. One year a new resident asked, incredulously, “The Homeowners’ Association is okay with this?” To which a veteran replied, “Oh, yeah. These guys are the officers.”
I’m with you on letting the professionals do it! Even sparklers make me nervous, what with all those hot glowing embers flying through the air and little kids waving them around. Someone’s going to put an eye out, I just know it!
I always get nervous about the bring-your-own fireworks types, especially in the city! It’s really unbelievable how people will do the same dumb thing over and over again. Have a great 4th, Lisa!
Unbelievable! I wonder what the stats are on rich, drunk guys burning down their houses on July 4?
Great comment, thanks!
I know what you mean! I hate to see little kids waving sparklers around. They may not go BOOM, but they’re still on FIRE!
Yikes! Thanks for the comments 🙂
Happy Independence Day everybody!
Ugh, I am so with you on this. Several years ago my husband–who is very safety conscious about these things, yet yields to his inner boy and simply has to launch some fireworks every Fourth of July (these are the ones you can purchase legally in Virginia and they’re technically wimpy fireworks)–organized a little show in our cul-de-sac. He had our kids gather up the other neighborhood kids to watch.
My older daughter sat on the grass across the street, a neighbor’s young daughter in her lap and her best friend next to her.
One of the neighbor boys came out. He’d just been down to Florida with his folks, those folks who annually indulge his pyromania by allowing him to buy the illegal and very dangerous fireworks that are readily available in the deep south.
So while my husband and the other kids were launching the piddling little local yokel fireworks, this one whipped out his munitions cache and promptly set up a bottle rocket and lit it.
The thing whizzed into the sky much the way you see those tracers skidding across the night sky in war footage from the Middle East.
My daughter looked at me (yes, the same me who had already been most unhappy about *any* do-it-yourselfer fireworks being launched) and said she didn’t like what was happening so she was going inside.
The little girl she’d been holding then went to sit in her friend’s lap.
A minute later, the boy lit another bottle rocket. The bottle tipped and that rocket launched 100 MPH, DIRECTLY where my daughter had been sitting not two minutes earlier.
Had she not had the sense to get up and leave, she’d have been impaled on a bottle rocket and I don’t doubt for a second she’d have been killed.
The little girl who’d been sitting with her got grazed slightly, probably from the surrounding heat of the firecracker, so mercifully got off with a mild burn.
But that was all the backing I needed to put an end once and for all to the puerile nonsense, the boys and their fire play. There’s a reason those things are illegal.
Please, stay safe on the Fourth and go watch the professional show of fireworks.
I’m afraid of fire and all small devices that shoot it around. I’m thinking about staying inside on the 4th!
Oh my gosh — what a relief your daughter wasn’t injured, and the other little girl was only mildly hurt.
Maybe the best suggestion of all. 🙂
see this is why I’m not a fan of fireworks… In fact when I was younger I got hit in the back of the leg with firework and it burned my calf
Ouch! I’m sorry – -that must have hurt.
Boys and their desire to blow stuff up- I just don’t get it.
Do you think George Bush will be standing in the big circular drive of the white house, lighting off a crate of M80s and Quarter Sticks procured from a guy named One Armed Larry on the Alabama state line?
Comments are closed.