4th of July Memories
For the 4th of July, we don’t celebrate with fireworks here in Iraq, but the holiday itself makes me think of the not to recent past.
About five years ago, we moved into a house on a cul-de-sac with only four houses on the block. The 4th of July on the cul-de-sac was a good good excuse to party and barbque.
One of the things I like about Tennessee is the easy access to fireworks. It’s like Christmas, but you can lose a hand. A couple of weeks prior to the 4th, the giant tents go up in Wal-Mart parking lots, the mall parking lot, and any other corner at a major intersection that can support a giant tent. These tents are loaded with fireworks. We even have two fireworks stores that are open all year. (Maybe after I retire from the Army I’ll sell fireworks from the trunk of my car in Connecticut. Leather jacket, pinky ring, toothpick; People will say, “I got this friend who knows this guy…” I’ll be “this guy”. )
There are some nuances about buying fireworks. If you go early, when the tents are first set up, you can get discounts so you’ll buy more and generate traffic by word of mouth. On the morning of the 4th you pay full price. If you go at 11:00 pm on the 4th, you get the things for 75 % off. Of course there is a midnight curfew for setting off fireworks, but you can stock up for next year.
The other way to get deep discounts is to send your wife out with big hair and lots of cleavage. The teenage boys that sell the fireworks can’t resist giving discounts to a milf in a push-up bra. A couple of good leans over the fireworks tables and you’re looking at 25% off. (Of course I would never pimp my wife out to get cheap fireworks. I’m just saying I’ve seen it done.)
After you made your purchase at the fireworks stand, you stop by the local Gas and Sip and get your case of Bud Light (cans of course), a couple of extra lighters and you’re ready to begin. We gather the kids outside and all the men put their fireworks out in the middle of the street. (This is akin to measuring penises. We do the same thing during the winter but with lawn decorations.) Seriously, this is no joke. At the very least you better have shown up with one of those pre-packaged sets that have a few of the big ones that could burn a house down.
For the next hour or so, we shoot fireworks in the air, burn our fingers, drink more beer, and take orders from the kids regarding lighting and launching strategies. The teenagers always want to light something so this is a good time to sucker them into clean-up duty.
“Ok, you can light these off, but when it’s done, you clean up the mess.” It gets them every time.
When it’s all over, the teenagers clean up the mess, the kids are put in bed, and when midnight strikes, and my wife and I sit outside and watch our cop neighbor that lives behind us patrol the neighborhood with his badge around his neck, shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops, and remind the rebel, non-conformists to stop shooting fireworks. I really do miss being home.
But now we live in a new neighborhood that doesn’t really promote this kind of behavior, so this year my wife was going to take all the kids somewhere to see the fireworks. But some asshole stole my Honda Odyssey!
Happy 4th from Baghdad everyone!