When I was a child, we celebrated the Fourth of July with sparklers, one in each hand, waving them from side to side, or making circles that glowed in the night.
Sometimes we wrote our names in the air, as if we held magic wands. They never lasted long and someone had to keep at least one lit to light the other ones. When they went out, we had to remember not to step on them with bare feet.
Later, my brother Stevie brought out the strings of firecrackers and the cherry bombs. He terrorized my sister, Joanne and I by throwing them at our feet and said “Dance.” We did.
Then the cherry bombs were next. “Hold out your hand. When I say throw it, you throw it.” Mind you, we were younger and shorter than Stevie, and he would beat up on use if we didn’t obey him.
We held out our hands, tried to do as he told, but inevitably, one went off in my left hand- I wasn’t permanently mauled, but learned never to trust him with explosives.
When we were older, the family would plan outings for fireworks at the county park, or go to Camp Lejeune to see fireworks over the water. Those were the most special times.
I was enthralled with the explosions, the burst of colors, the falling lights and the screamers. I even remember seeing a giant American Flag. Everyone said "Ooooh and Aaaahh" and maybe there was a gasp or two.
To this day, a firework display still brings out the kid in me.
Happy Fourth of July.