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As the 4th draws near and millions clamor to their neighborhood fireworks stands to buy up the last of anything available, I recall some not so warm and fuzzy memories I’ve had to endure courtesy of my “he-keeps-it-interesting” husband Jon (pictured above with our son and my brother-in-law). His love of holiday explosives is, to put it mildly, something of a contradiction to his otherwise law-abiding, God-fearing disposition. The trouble lies in the fact that he likes to hear them BOOM, or see them fly, or both; all of which is illegal in California where we lived when most of the incidents occurred. While a dozen events come to mind, I’ll name my top four:

  1. We stopped in a parking lot on our way to dinner with my sisters and brothers-in-law. The women didn’t realize what was going on until the first aerial shot up in the sky. The men lit off about seven more to the chorus of three shrill, nagging voices, then got us out of there just as the spotlight of a helicopter began scanning the vicinty.
  2. Jon went down the street to a friend’s to show off some souvenirs he’d bought in Hawaii. I knew what the souvenirs were as soon as I heard sounds so loud the rest of the neighbors were probably scrambling to remember bomb drills from grade school. When the noise stopped and he didn’t come back, I went outside to see what was going on. He and his friends were sitting on the curb like a bunch of sad-faced knuckleheads while an officer lectured them on their juvenile behavior.
  3. Jon and my brother-in-law lit some of the same “bombs” from example 2 in front of my parents’ house. They were all smiles and laughter until the dust cleared and left in its wake my unhappy mother. Let’s just say the officer was a cake-walk.
  4. “Someone” let off a bottle rocket at a fireworks show. Though I didn’t see him do it, Jon was the lucky fellow approached by a red-faced, muscle bound man ready to rip his head off because said rocket whizzed by his group. When the man couldn’t get anything more than the trademark smile my husband wears with every emotion, he threatened Jon by proclaiming, “You know I’m a cop.” To which Jon smugly replied, “Yeah, me too.”

Most fireworks that are illegal in California are legal in other states. And though Jon always bought them legally in other states, some always seemed to find their way home before exploding, hence the many brushes with the law. But years have passed and kids have been born since those days, which have made for a more responsible, yet still just as interesting man; though he still grins like a fox in a chicken coop when the kinds he likes light up the sky or threaten to break the sound barrier.

What are some of your favorite fireworks escapades or 4th of July memories? Do you prefer fireworks shows, or lighting your own? I’m eager to hear about it.