Monday, July 5, 2010

July 4th - Missouri Style

Growing up in Illinois as a kid meant that I really didn't think the 4th of July was all that special. Sure we went to see the firework show down by the Dairy Ripple or maybe did a couple of sparklers and some smoke bombs, but per state law, you weren't allowed to shoot off "dangerous" fireworks (i.e. anything that exploded). That all changed with around the age of 5 or 6 we experienced July 4th at my grandparents house in Missouri. I am sure we had been there on previous Independence Days, but that year the older cousins were also there. The Pattison clan has never, to my knowledge, half-assed a 4th of July. That fateful summer, I was exposed to the wonders of blowing lots of crap up. When I say crap, I mean it. Fresh cow pies are made for fireworks....fresh ones or dry ones it doesn't matter, a boy can never get sick of watching them blow up. We also tried to blow up pretty much anything else we could in the stocktank, wasp nest, bottles, more cow pies, you name it we put a firecracker on it or in it, in an attempt to blow it up.

The Boy got his first taste of real fireworks..............and unlike his girl cousins, who were scared out of their minds..........he couldn't get enough of it, and has repeatedly asked about every 5 minutes since then, when are we going to light off some more fireworks. Doing smoke bombs with MN papa only started the obsession, but following the all out shelling of Springfield, he is officially hooked on the hard stuff. By the end of the night, he was insisting that he hold the Roman Candle without my help. The higher and/or louder the firework the better.

As I have previously noted, Springfield is an interesting city, never more so then on the 4th of July. On that night, there are so many fireworks being shot off, it sounds like the entire city is under siege, literally. My descriptions don't nearly do it justice, but the amount of fireworks being shot off is epic. The entire Lebanese population of Springfield (both of them), must think they are back in Beirut in the early 80's.

When in Rome............we decided to go out and get some fireworks just to have a couple to shoot off during the party, but when you combined that, with what my brother-in-law and his guest brought, we had quite a collection. The Boy was in hog heaven. We did a great job of making our little sampling of fireworks look pretty impressive, or at least that is what we thought, then my parents neighbor informed us that he had won a raffle and had over $600 of fireworks. We couldn't compete with that, but because they lived next door we did get to enjoy it. Anybody want to guess how long it takes to shoot off $600 of fireworks..........a long time......I don't actually know because I went to bed before they were finished, but at least 3 continuous hours.

It is quite common in Missouri for people to buy fireworks at one of the millions of stands, and then walk the 100 feet away that is required by law, and shoot off the freshly purchased fireworks in the parking lot. This has never seemed like the brightest idea, because fireworks aren't exactly 100% predictable in terms of where they will end up, coupled with the fact you have a tent full of people and highly flammable/explosive material - just seems like a recipe for disaster.

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