Fireworks and Other Memories

Growing up the Fourth of July was the highlight of our summer. We lived in a relatively small town in eastern Idaho. We were a mere 90 minutes from Jackson Hole Wyoming or a little over 2 hours away from Yellowstone Park. Being that close to the Wyoming border is not especially impressive or noteworthy and would normally best be left unsaid. There was a brief time each year that was of importance to us. That time was around the Fourth of July. In Idaho we were allowed to have some types of fireworks but it was limited. We could have sparklers, cones, and ground blossoms. In Idaho we were not permitted to have firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles, or anything that went airborne. Wyoming had a much more liberal look on fireworks. I often wondered what it must be like to be in the state legislature in the cowboy state. That had to be kind of like being a sheriff in the wild west. They seemed to pass just enough laws so that the citizens didn’t kill themselves but they did not seem to mind arming the people with weapons of mass maiming. As a kid, that makes you just about one of the coolest adults on the planet.

When we were young my brother and I would have to try and talk our parents into a road trip just over the state line into Wyoming. It was probably the only time in our lives where we actually suggested a family outing to some historical place since we knew we would be driving right by the little store and fireworks stand that was interestingly placed as close to the Idaho border as possible while still being in Wyoming. Later on when I was old enough to drive then I became the transportation for my brother and all of our friends as we made a trip one Saturday to the middle of nowhere to get just “a few” fireworks. My parents didn’t usually condone the possession of illegal fireworks but with the proper supervision we somehow got away with it.
When we moved to Arizona all of that changed. Arizona does not allow any fireworks. Their theory is, we live in the dry desert. The last thing we need is a bunch of exploding things igniting everything around it. So my kids never grew up knowing the trill and the danger of holding a firecracker or exploding balls of fire launched into the night sky. We still make a trip every now and again to Idaho. Mostly during the summer to escape the Arizona heat. There have been times that we have been there over the Independence Day holiday. When we are, I try to make that drive to that same little fireworks stand over the border to pick up “a few” fireworks to celebrate the birth of our country. Sometimes “safe and sane” is appropriate but “dumb and dangerous” is a lot more fun when you have a roman candle and a lighter in your hand.

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