**Warning** This blog is not intended to be funny. This is purely educational. Any
laughing on your part may cause the younger generation to take this topic
lightly. Please discuss with your family but cover up the third and fourth
**Warning** Do not try to recreate the scenes portrayed in this blog.
**Warning** Do not discuss this with my mother. I’ll get in trouble.
Every year when I was young, we loaded up my Dad’s Pontiac Parisienne
station wagon, pointed it north on I-95 and headed up to Lumberton, N.C.
to see my Grandmother. To this day I believe that car was the biggest
automobile that ever came out of Detroit. It was replete with faux wood
siding, a chrome roof rack and one of those reverse bench seats, so you
could witness your demise as an eighteen-wheeler saddled up behind you.
Since seatbelts were only strong recommendations back then, and not the
law, I had the back two rows basically to myself after I repositioned
the luggage. We would wake up early. Dad and I would load the car while
Mom filled a cooler with fruit and bologna sandwiches to eat at rest stops.
And we’d trek out to the highway. The big V-8 purred under the hood
of that land yacht once it planed out at 60 mph on the highway. Dad would
drive, Mom would read and I would stare out the window waiting . . . waiting
. . . waiting . . .
Then I would see it! The first of many billboards:
Pedro says 284 miles to South of the Border!” Every few miles there was a new sign with Pedro’s witty banter.
“You never sausage a place. You’re always a weener at Pedro’s.”
“No Monkey Business. Joost Yankee Panky.” “Keep yelling
kids. They’ll stop!” With each sign, the mileage between us and our destination counted down
until we had arrived! My parents hated South of the Border. Truly, it
was the largest tourist trap on the East Coast. I could take it or leave
it except for the fact that it had a fireworks store, and this is where
I would stock up for July 4th and the rest of the year.
for the rest of the year you ask? Yes. I made sure that I had plenty to blow up during the 4th, but I also needed a few for some quite ballistic games of capture the
flag. (This would be a good time not to let the kiddos read on).
During the winter days when we would actually have a cold day or two, a
group of friends would meet at my house, break into two teams and divvy
up my stash of fireworks. We would go down to the beach, and each team
would scamper over the dunes to find a good fortification for our respective
flags. Each of us would find a ridge as a lookout, spot the other team,
and then send off a salvo of bottle rockets to break the other’s
stronghold. Meanwhile, a smaller platoon of boys would pick at each other’s
flanks with an arsenal of smoke bombs, Roman candles and m-80s. We’d
eventually forget about each other’s flag and just battled across
the dunes until we ran out of ammo. Then we’d collect all the debris
and wander home. There was always some kid that was upset because he hadn’t
known that the fireworks could burn a hole in his puffy jacket and he
knew that his mom was going to be mad about it.
Luckily for us, except for some scorched garments, we came out unscathed
with all of our eyes and digits. However, fireworks can be extremely dangerous,
so a few facts followed by some safety tips are in order. (I gotta have
a real reason to write this blog, or it’s just me rambling.) This
information is available from the
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- 230 people on average go to the emergency room each day with firework-related injuries.
- More than 50% of firework-related injuries are burns.
- The most firework-injured body parts are hands, head and eyes.
- 19% of all firework-related injuries were caused by sparklers that can
burn at temperatures greater than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. (Glass melts
at 900 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Only 4% of firework-related injuries occurred at a public display.
- The highest percentage of firework-related injuries occurred in the 25
to 44 year old group (34%) However, the percentage of firework-related
injuries for all children age zero to 18 is greater at 45%.
- Of course by gender, 74% of firework-related injuries occurred in men.
“Hey watch this!”
Now, there are some firework safety tips that should be listed. Most are
common sense, but the list below is a good reminder of how we should all
respect fireworks to prevent injuries.
- Light one at a time.
- Keep a safe distance.
- Never point a firework at another person.
- Sparklers remain extremely hot for a period of time even after they are
extinguished. Dispose of them properly to prevent burns.
- Never attempt to re-light or fix a “dud” firework.
- Do not wear loose-fitting clothing.
- Never use near dry grass or other flammable materials.
- Have a bucket of water or hose handy.
The Fourth of July is a special holiday for our country and should be celebrated
with friends and family responsibly. Please follow these safety tips so
friends, families and neighbors alike can enjoy the entire holiday without
having to make a trip to the emergency room.