Friday, July 2, 2010

Flashback Friday # 94

If you give a boy a firecracker...

Salutations to the faithful readers who have ventured this way again. A warm welcome to you.

Today's post takes place about a year & a half from the timeline where I am currently writing. This requires everyone to jump into the wayback machine and zoom ahead a bit. Got your seat belt on? Here we go.

My Mom had an aunt who lived up in Masslion, Ohio. Whenever she would visit her sister in Masslion, she would stop in and see Aunt Lynn. I never went to her house, but I always saw her at the reunions. She would always send something back with Mom for me. She had a multitude of stuff in her attic, and there was always something enjoyable for a young boy.

One day, upon her return, Mom gave me a shopping bag that Aunt Lynn had sent back with her.When I say shopping bag, I don't mean the little plastic ones you get at the store today. This was a large paper bag with handles. My eyes nearly popped out when I looked inside. It was FULL of firecrackers of every size & shape.

Mom made me promise to be careful with them. Of course I would be careful (what else do you think I would say). An early teen with a bag of firecrackers. Whoo Hoo. I lit some traditionally, but I had some adventures with some of the others (Disclaimer: If you are a Mom, and let your kids read this, you may want to finish reading this after the kiddos go to bed).

As I've written before, I made paper airplanes out of old women's magazines and inserted a firecracker in each one. I then lit the nose on fire. The plane would fly until the firecracker went off. What was left of it would flutter to the ground.

In the bag were roman candles (at least I think that is what it was). When you lit them, you got a mini fireworks display. I discovered, that if you insert the end into a piece of pvc pipe, you can shoot them across the sky in what ever direction you pleased.

Also in the bag was cherry bombs. These were a bit more powerful than regular firecrackers. One of these were dropped into a mason jar and tossed into the creek. It made a mighty splash when it went off, and the jar floated down the creek, filled with smoke. It looked really cool. I also set one of these on top of of a mayonnaise jar. I set a very, very rusty can on top of it. The fuse stuck out of a hole in the can. I lit the fuse and stepped back to what I thought was a safe distance. When it exploded, shrapnel flew everywhere. Some hit me, but did not penetrate my skin. The mayonnaise jar AND the can had completely vanished. This just goes to show that Mason jars are more sturdy than mayonnaise jars.

Also in the bag were bottle rockets. The only problem with these was back then, pop bottle were returned for deposit. We had just taken our back prior to getting the firecrackers. How do you shoot bottle rockets without bottles. I looked around for anything I could find. Finally my eyes landed on a pipe that was sticking out of our lower roof (the roof just outside my bedroom window).

I clambered out onto the roof and dropped the first rocket down the pipe. Since we were higher up, the rocket said really high into the air. I had six dozen rockets in my possession. I lit & dropped each one down the pipe. It was spectacular. I found out, several years later, just what that pipe was. It was the exhaust vent for our septic tank. If any of the sparks from the bottle rockets had ignited the methane gas in the tank, we would have had a large crater in our back yard. How do you explain to your parents that you blew up the septic tank. Years later, when I told this story to Dad, he turned white.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. I saved the last pack for July 4th. I was discussing this post with my wife last night. I don't have any idea how long those firecrackers were in Aunt Lynn's attic. Gunpowder deteriorates with age. These may have been incredibly dangerous. If you have firecrackers, don't do as I did, be careful with them.

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