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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Happy Fourth of July!

Last night I was deciding if I was going to go to bed early or maybe study Hebrew when my upstairs neighbor called. He and another neighbor were going to the beach to watch amatuer night. Last year, they said, the fireworks shot off by locals were a better show than the downtown fireworks. I grabbed a towel and a bottle of water and joined them. Turns out the amatuers wait for the fourth, because there wasn’t much to watch.

I did realize, however, the deep respect for fireworks that our parents taught us. Watching the few people who brought out their illegal stashes of roman candles, smoke bombs, cherry bombs, and sparklers–I couldn’t help but be a running commentary of bad parenting choices. People would light the cherry bombs and smoke bombs and throw them onto the beach–WHERE THERE WERE KIDS. One little girl (11 or 12) kept using roman candles AS sparklers. She would also run up and inspect the dud fireworks. That was a never EVER in my house. A couple idiots even lit firecrackers on their balcony–on the 10th floor of a high rise!

It was no surprise when the party ended for the family near us–a little boy, 5 or 6 years old, was crying and holding his hand. His mother chastised him, “You’re the one who wanted to touch it.” Um, I’m sorry, isn’t it YOUR job to teach him not to touch the firework. Not to squeeze the Snap N Pop in his fingers?

I would always wonder how people got injured playing with fireworks. I didn’t understand, because our parents were so strict about lighting one at a time, running away after it was lit, having a bucket of water handy for all spent fireworks, not checking on duds immediately… The list of cautions goes on and on. Oh–and don’t drink tons of alcohol while you shoot fireworks. AND if a massive (some would say Great) body of water is there, don’t light fireworks on the draught-ridden, dry, brown, grass. Take it five feet to the gigantic natural ashtray called the beach and light it there.

That said, I’m on my way to Plainfield (a far southern suburb) to watch amatuer night in a subdivision. Get ready for another night of running commentary from me. “Don’t they know that house is flammable?”

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