Ever feel nervous when your children handle pyro and/or explosives?
well Team Loesch did that on Shock City's roof on the Fourth of July
because it's not Independence Day unless you can toss a bottle rocket
from four stories up with friends and your friends' kids.
Which reminds me.
I was a kid I spent the majority of my summers in the Ozarks with my
grandparents, aunts, uncles and all their offspring. There where so
many of us I honestly have no idea how Grandma kept track; I remember
stealing cookies from her cookie jar and running off to hide in
the corn when I thought she was occupied and dangit all to Hades if that devil woman didn't find me. I
mean that affectionately. I'm sure you can understand the wrath of a
ten-year-old whose Grandma just swiped a Keebler elf cookie from her
hand moments before she crammed it into her mouth.
thing about the Fourth of July is that all the adults wanted to drink
beer and light fireworks off from my aunt's porch so no one paid all
too much mind to what the kids were setting on fire - except my mother,
who never let me hold a Roman candle like my cousins did because some
lady she worked with had a neighbor who knew someone whose arm was
blown off by a Roman candle when it exploded and bits of arm went
everywhere. She changed the story up and made it gorier every year; one
time it was his arm, another time it was his face and his lips were
burnt clean off.
My cousins and I waged legendary bottle
rocket fights. I was the meanest of them all mainly because I had to
be: everyone took one look at my white fro and their eyes twisted into
evil half moons.
When the adults ran out of their share of
bottle rockets they dispatched Uncle Surl out to the field to babysit
us. Uncle Surl is a cantankerous beer drinker who prefers solitude and
great mystery novels to nights out, at least in his old age. His idea
of a cruise is to pay for a bunk on a merchant ship and sail around the
Pacific going to ports "they don't take the stupid tourists to." He
became legend when, while boarding in Alaska, he slipped and fell all
the way down the gangplank. Instead of fighting it, he thought "Eff it.
I'll roll" and broke his leg. He also once stole the family town's city sign and planted it up at the North Pole.
would trudge out to the field near the railroad tracks where we were
all battling, the porch a glimmer in the distance.
he'd bark, and produce a batch of pilfered bottlerockets from the
porch. We were estatic as our supplies were dwindling. We prepared to
light them off in our hands when Uncle Surl would holler "NO, no, you
blockheads, you'll blow your da*mn hands off and then your mothers will
nag me to death. Here." He downed the open bottle of beer in his right
hand, finished off the one in his left, and plunked them down on a
"Stick 'em in this and then light 'em."
watch for a few minutes, the resulting explosions reflecting off his
thick glasses, before trudging across the field, back to our aunt's
There's something about the Fourth of July that
brings me back to the Ozarks, even mentally, and even if I'm standing
on the roof in the middle of the city with fireworks exploding all
around me. The kids clamored around Chris as he lit bottle rockets in his hand, anxious to see if he'd blow his arm off. The sky was red and hazy from all the smoke.
Maybe it's because I'm older, but the night seemed to last longer when I was younger.