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.