THE GREAT SPARKLER

I am not sure that I will ever really get used to the firework situation that happens here every July. I did shoot off fireworks when I was a kid, but we lived outside of any city limits. It was not illegal, just highly frowned upon (mostly by Dad). You certainly did not set them off within city limits. I know of some cul-de-sacs who would pool their money every year to pay the fine for shooting off illegal fireworks, but I never witnessed the firework displays like I have seen here in my current neighborhood. For one thing, most of the fireworks from last night are not even sold in the state of Oklahoma. Every year since I have been here, a public service announcement goes out reminding people that fireworks are illegal. Every year the PSA is ignored and my neighborhood ends up sounding like a war zone and a smokey haze fills the sky. I don't mind. It is probably the only time of year where I am winning our game of Gun Shots or Fireworks (I pick fireworks every time).

Michael bought the Cabbage a whole bunch of fireworks yesterday. We walked around inside a big tent full of all kinds of fireworks picking out satellites and tanks and ground blooms. Of course our bag filled up with sparklers and snaps too, as well as some fountains and missiles.  Michael noticed a large display of the bigger fireworks, the kind you drop into a provided canon. They were on sale. So we ended up with three of those. At one point I had to leave because I could hear my Dad talking so loudly in my head about the money we were literally burning. He would also go on and on about the mess they make and how we had to be sure and pick up every scrap. Yet he never prevented us from buying them. We did have to roll the pennies we saved over the year, but he always threw in a few extra dollars. 

While I stood just outside the tent, I started thinking about the time Stephanie and I worked in a firework stand on the east end of Collinsville. That was the summer my nephew, Kolin, was born. He was early and sick and would only end up being with us for a few short weeks. I would get up in the mornings and drive to the hospital in Tulsa where I would put on scrubs and disinfect my hands up to my elbows just to go into a room to look at him. Then I would take J somewhere. We'd go to the mall or a movie. Someplace other than the hospital. Then I'd drop him off and head back to town for my shift at the firework stand. Stephanie and I spent most of our time at the stand trying to stay cool. We would sit in our lawn chairs, with our feet up on the counter and I would tell her about that morning's hospital visit. Then she would tell me about the crazy dessert stuff our boss had left for us to eat. 

One night, just before closing, a group of drunk guys pulled up in their pick-up truck and stumbled out. The swayed up to the counter and then started pointing at different fireworks with their lit cigarettes. "Whud about that one? Whuts that one do?" Steph and I took turns explaining the fireworks while reminding them to put their cigarettes out. They bought a small bag's worth of firecrackers and moved on. We both sighed with relief. Mostly though, it was a boring job, but a good distraction for that summer. We would be really busy for ten minutes with a flurry of people and then we wouldn't see a soul for hours. On the last night we were open, we had to do inventory. The owner could send back all of the unopened packages of fireworks and get his money back for them. We had to go through everything and tally up what was left, packaged or not packaged. Anything not packaged was ours for the keeping. Steph and I had an amazing 5th of July fireworks display. 

Our backyard fireworks display was pretty impressive. We even had an intermission because of rain. Still, I don't think it tops that 5th of July Stephanie and I had.