Wednesday, June 28, 2006


When I was a kid, fireworks (illegal in Pennsylvania) were the contraband of kids. Usually someone had access to a trip to the Carolinas or some exotic state which seemed a million miles away to a 10 year old, and they'd come back with Black Cats. 1 1/2 inchers.

Every once in a while I'd have a chance to buy a firecracker from one of the other kids, and I'd pay too much and then have it hidden in my desk and take it out and smell it and imagine blowing up an ant hill, or a can. It felt awfully good to hold that power in my hand.

Maybe a few years later, we'd see the M-80s and Cherry Bombs. I don't think they make them any more. It was said the M-80 was a quarter stick of dynamite - probably urban legend, but they were VERY powerful, and caused many injuries. The Cherry Bomb was my favorite. Red with green fuse. Green WATERPROOF fuse. Really loud and quite powerful!

We made our own gunpowder back then, and other incendary devices. Life was simpler - you could buy sulfur from the drug store. Make your own charcoal or just buy some, and Potassium Nitrate could be had at a drug store or from Edmund Scientific. They used to pack it in chemistry sets, but got wise.

By the time I was in high school we moved up to rockets and even better explosives.

And what amazes me so many years later is here in the local area, just across the county lines, you can buy legal fireworks, but I haven't even been tempted. Part of the reason must be the burn bans for our two 4ths of July so far. Anything that flies is illegal. Stiff fines if they catch you. And the REASON for the ban is fires. As a homeowner, I just don't want to take a chance.

Maturity? That's a sobering thought!

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