Saturday, July 3, 2010

July 4th - my favorite holiday!

During The Great Depression, the only fireworks that were displayed were out in the middle of your own street. You didn’t dare ride your bike past a group of rowdy kids, because they would throw cherry bombs at the pavement and the sparks would fly up and burn your legs. There were some sparklers and roman candles….but no plastic made-to-order show in some remote stadium or TV spectacular from New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty. In fact our big explosions were home made. Like everything else in those years when there was not enough money to feed and clothe us properly, much less to have extra left over to buy fireworks, we made do.

Pappy was a welder by trade, and he would take his blowtorch out to the back clothesline pole, stuff the pole with magic potions, place a tin can over the end that faced down into the gully wash behind the house, and light the torch.
Kids were lined up all around the back yard. Grandma and mom would stand near the entrance to the back screen porch with their hands over their ears waiting for the explosion. I was always the scaredy cat, cringing at their feet never understanding when the blast would go off.
Finally, the torch would come to flame. The scene was all set. It was dusky dark. Now he could do it.
“Hot pups,” he’d say as he reached up to the empty end of the pipe and touched the string attached to the explosive.
Hssssss! Ka-Booooom!
The tin can took off for outer space. It was a good thing that we lived on the last street of town. After the gully wash was a huge orange grove, and we could see the flaming torch can going through the sky and then down into the darkness of the trees.
The wonder is that he didn’t cause fires, or accidents in our own yard or to the many children waiting for his incendiary display.
I guess it was just many of the wonders that protected us during those lean years when he did crazy stunts to make us all laugh.
“Well, that’s over for another year,” Grandma said uncovering her ears and heading back into the house to stir the chili beans and make last preparations for dinner.
“That was my best work!” Pappy said coming back across the lawn trailed by all the neighborhood kids.
I guess it was. He’d made a lot of poor kids happy on the Fourth of July.

by Thelly Reahm © Tidbits of time, 1936


Anne said...

Happy fourth of July to everyone. I just talked to Caleb and he is looking forward to 3 days of rest. Daddy and I sat on the pier for several hours this morning. We ate our breakfast out there and looked at all of the interesting creatures that God created. We might go canoeing on Monday. Now he is mowing and I am going to cook a roast. Then this afternoon we will spend the evening with Mormor. What is everyone else doing this weekend.

Kevin W said...

We had the most wonderful Sunday ever at church. Our church has been planning this patriotic Sunday for a long time. The speaker was Attorney David Gibbs. There were over 500 people there and Kevin barbecued for everyone. He got to the church around 6:45 and barbecued 75 tritips and over 100 hotdogs. Kristen helped him and Tim (our really great friend) helped. Kevin said that he was slicing up the last tritip right before the service let out at 12:20. The service was fabulous. Kevin's aunt and uncle are visiting so we got them to come along with Fran and Ken. The fellowship was wonderful and we just enjoyed every minute. We are going to stay at home tonight to avoid all the crazies out there. Love and miss you all -Whitleys

Candace said...

I hope you and Daddy go canoeing tomorrow...maybe take some pictures? :)
Sounds as if you Whitley's had a busy but FUN weekend! I love fellowshiping w/church friends.
If you read my tweets, you know we spent the weekend w/Grandmother...fabulous time...she thanked us over and over for coming.

I'm glad everyone had a great July 4th. What a blessing to live in a America!