February 27th, 2006



My dad loved fireworks when I was a kid. Maybe he still does. When we would visit him for the summer, he would always buy lots of fireworks and set them off all summer long. Bottle rockets, especially. I was never interested in setting bottle rockets off myself, but my brother and little step-brother loved it. Dad used to let them do it pretty much every night.

On the 4th of July, he pulled out all the stops. We'd go out on the paved road (this was in a very rural area in Wyoming, so cars didn't come by very often) and he'd set off one firework after another. His dog Belfry (named for the town where he got her) loved fireworks even more than Dad did. She would chase them and pick them up in her mouth while they were still spinning on the ground.

At some point, the laws changed, and Dad had to drive over the state line into Montana to buy fireworks and bring them back. It didn't stop him, though. He just bought more, to make the trip worthwhile.

When I spent summers at home in California, fireworks weren't the same. We lived only a mile away from Disneyland, where they set off massive fireworks every night during the summer, so all us neighborhood kids would go out to stand in the cul-de-sac in our jammies to watch them. A nightly summer ritual.

On the 4th of July at home, we had our own little fireworks, as well as the overhead crackle and boom of the Disneyland ones, but it didn't compare to Dad's enthusiasm. I barely even remember any 4th of July at home, but I can vividly conjure up images of standing out on that deserted road with my dad and his crazy dog.

I don't really do the 4th of July anymore, because it isn't important to me. But when it mattered, when I was a kid, I had a blast.