Whether you call it Independence Day or simply the 4th of July, it’s a day most Americans acknowledge and celebrate. When I was a kid at Millville, we looked forward to the fireworks that were launched at Memorial Park in New Castle. We seldom got to go to the park, but we discovered that if we watched out of the attic window on the west side of the house, we could at least see the rockets that made it past the tree line. I found out in later years there were also some ground displays involved in the show, but Dad never mentioned those to us, so we didn’t know we were missing anything.
It was a little more exciting whenever I got together with my old buddy Stinky Wilmont around the 4th. Stinky’s Uncle Wilmer lived in Tennessee, and sometimes when he came up for a visit he would bring a trunk load of firecrackers with him. Firecrackers weren’t legal in Indiana back then, unless you had a permit and were putting on a show for everybody at Memorial Park or someplace like that. Later on I think you could buy them in Indiana if you promised you wouldn’t light them here, but I think a lot of people forgot what they had promised when they got home and it got dark.
Anyway, Stinky always had some little firecrackers called Black Cats with the fuses all woven together, and sometimes we took them apart so we could light them one at a time and make them last all night. You could also light them all at once, and it made a lot of noise, and everybody hollered and ran away, but it didn’t last very long that way. He also had some bigger firecrackers called Cherry Bombs and M-80s, but I didn’t like them as much because they were awfully loud, and Uncle Wilmer was missing part of two fingers.
I think you can buy a lot of different types of firecrackers in Indiana now, at least that is what it sounds like over at the neighbors. I kind of lost interest in them as I got older, and since we switched to Daylight Savings Time I’m usually asleep before it gets dark enough to appreciate them anyway.
I did think it was kind of ironic that we celebrated our freedom with items our government told us we couldn’t have. And I guess I’m glad I’ll be able to buy them in Indiana if I want to, and that I won’t have to make up a story about where I’m going to set them off.
Even though we’re allowed to buy firecrackers now, there are a lot of things we’re not allowed to buy. I was informed the other day at the county fair that I couldn’t buy raw milk. I learned if I wanted raw milk, I had to buy part interest in a cow. Then I could pay someone to feed her and milk her, and put the milk in a jar, and I could have a gallon a week. If I wanted more than that, I would have to buy more of the cow. I thought it would be a lot simpler if the government would just let me buy the milk in the first place, but that’s not how the government works.
It all reminded me once again how difficult it is to name three things that our government doesn’t tax or regulate, and it made me wonder if maybe I ought to buy a few firecrackers while I still can, and before the government changes its mind again.
It’s all well and good that we get to celebrate our freedoms on the 4th, but we might want to spend a little more time protecting those we still have, and maybe reclaiming some of those we don’t.