|Nick waits for the fireworks to start at the Biltmore Estate|
My dad figured if he could see how those fire crackers were constructed he could make a large explosive device that would be bigger and better than the generic store bought ones. He carefully opened the red tissue and removed the powder from within several firecrackers. He then wrapped the powder together into one mass as large as a grown man's index finger. Unfortunately, after about twenty attempts, none of his homemade mini-bombs made more than a fizzling noise. He speculated that the wrapping was not as tight as the original packaging had been, and worked to improve his design. He stuck with his project late into the night. He and my uncle Max were the only people still awake in the house; Granny and my grandfather Walter had retired to their room upstairs hours earlier.
"That is never going to work." Max exclaimed. My dad persisted, unruffled. He wrapped the paper tighter than he had on the others and admired his handiwork. Max, expecting the same fizzle to occur, took the giant firecracker from my dad's hands and nonchalantly lit it with the butt of his cigarette. He threw it into the coal bucket that sat next to the tall thin stove on which Granny used to heat water in a heavy cast iron kettle. I remember that stove and bucket well. I would marvel at the black chunks of coal stacked in it, just waiting to be fed into the mouth of the stove, its coiled handle dangling like a nose off the front.
BANG! The firecracker went off that time. "You never heard such a noise!" my dad told me. "Whats going on down there?" My grandfather drawled, still half asleep. My dad said he blamed it on Max, answering, "Oh nothing. Max lit my firecracker and threw it in the floor." I asked what the consequences had been for such antics and my dad told me that they didn't even come downstairs. "I guess they were used to my shenanigans, I was always doing crazy things like that." (Remember when I wrote about the time he sat in the rafters of the barn to ensnare chickens as they strutted by or when he hid a metal sign under a thin layer of snow and watched the dogs (and my Granny) slip on it?)
I am glad the fireworks display Wayne and Andy put on last night in downtown Rugby turned out to be simply a good show; nothing that would require my grandfather to get out of bed for. The horses next door, however, might have decided to leave town. I hope you all had a safe and happy 4th of July full of family, friends, good food, and safe fireworks.