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2004-07-04 - 9:12 p.m.

In honor of Independence Day, and because I am too lazy to write a proper entry, I now present to you a rerun from last year on the 4th.

Ladies and Gentlemen...

How Rednecks Have Fun

It's July the 4th and my horoscope says to be really careful with the fireworks today or even ban them altogether. But you see, I don't know if I can do that, since I come from a family of crazed pyromaniacs. This is what we did 6 months ago at New Years':

Every year around New Years' my whole extended family gets together to "blow stuff up". This might be considered somewhat redneck, but for this one night each year, I must shed my devastatingly suave and sophisticated citified persona and get my redneck groove on.

Here's how it's done:

Every year we all come together to display our bomb making skills and our insane level of conspicuous consumption in pyrotechnics over-spending. A huge bon fire is built, most of the women stand around and talk,laugh, watch the show, and periodically run for cover when the explosives start getting too close. We also stand by to throw ourselves over the babies if the need arises. We live to serve.

Dad has 4 brothers. Most of them have grown sons. All the married-in males, various friends, roommates, and pals get in on the action and it has ultimately degenerated into a contest to see who can bring the most obscene, illegal, and dangerous explosive apparatus. The goal is to be bigger-badder-louder-more than last year. This thing has taken on such a life of its own, that two of the kids grew up to be pyrotechnicians. This is very handy, since we now get professional sized fireworks to add to our homemade bombs.

Way back in the day, it was just a fun time with a limited amount of small fireworks from the local fireworks stand. Then one year "The Bucket" was born. Someone took a 5 gallon bucket and filled it up with bottle rockets. George Bush Senior was in office, the gulf war had happened, and that bucket looked just like scud missiles flying over Rhiyad. The cool / funny / horrifying thing about the bucket is that it melts and the side support starts to fall over, allowing the bottle rockets to start shooting in unpredictable directions. Usually, it manages to aim right for the crowd. Everyone runs away as the bottle rockets chase them. The first bucket was a huge success. It left us slightly injured and somehow wanting more...

So "The Box" was born. Bigger than the Bucket, the box holds more explosives. The box catches on fire, the explosives go everywhere, usually someone gets hurt or at least chased by a renegade bottle rocket or jumping jack, but it's a great time for all.

After "The Box" we had "The Box From Hell" which was bigger and deadlier, and a couple of years ago we had "The Trough", which was a 6 foot long, wooden trough that was slam full of bottle rockets packed around several bigger fountains and various fly-in-the-air-and-explode-into-living-color type things. The trough goes out in a blaze of glory and the whole thing burns down.

One year my crazy uncle, who is constantly testing bombs and plotting all year for the next fireworks party, blew himself up with a bomb he made. He wasn't seriously hurt, but it was a close call. He filled a plastic garbage bag with aceteline gas and put in a cannon fuse. He had done this lots of times, but this one time as he was filling the garbage bag, some static electricity sparked and the whole thing went BOOM. He was unconscious for a while and when he woke up he had to spend some quality time picking little shards of plastic out of his skin, clothing, and eyes. Ouch.

Now each year we have several people who make their own versions of The Bucket or The Box and we have our big gorgeous professional sized fireworks. One of our regular pyros sold some truck rims and instead of cash, he took explosives from a guy who owns a fireworks stand. That little transaction netted us hundreds of dollars worth of good stuff.

So he put some of those bombs he got into a new creation called "Tulips From Hell", which was a 5 gallon bucket filled totally full of "Tulips". Tulips are great, because they shoot way up in the sky and explode into a big burst of color and sparkle. They are like a smaller version of the professional ones. When the Tulip bucket was lit, they started firing off and doing their thing, and it looked like a grand finale from a fireworks show. So many were going off at once. Very cool.

Someone called the cops on us this year and instead of arresting somebody, the cops came out and enjoyed the show. That's a small town for you.

Boo-yeah.

spring - fall

3 This comments thingy doesn't work now because I let my paid membership lapse.

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