A Silver Salute to Independence

Posted: Wednesday, July 4, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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It would be like Christmas without lefse (Norwegian version of a tortilla only made from potatoes) if I didn’t see at least a short fireworks display on the Fourth of July.
So, tonight just before dark, I’ll try drag Linda, who doesn’t share my sentimentality about tradition, off to some public fireworks show.
A few years ago, I thought it would be fun for us to ride the motorcycle over to the fairgrounds and watch for free from the parking lot. But before the first rocket’s red glare, mosquitoes by the millions descended from the sky and onto our arms, legs, neck and faces.
We left long before the grand finale but that 4th was still being remembered on the 5th and 6th every time we scratched mosquito bites on the top of our feet and back of our ears.
My parents seemed to appreciate celebrating Independence Day with a bang. They didn’t object to our setting off Black Cat firecrackers on the street in front of our house. (I would imagine that Volga has now joined the rest of the world in banning fireworks in town)
We’d all get the obligatory “be careful” from mom and then get to the blasting.
They also didn’t seem to have a problem with our waving those welding rods called sparklers around..or staining the sidewalk with "snakes" that started out as a little black pellet but would grow, twist and curl like the real thing when ignited.My older brother, Denny, though, ruined the parental endorsement one year when he’d gotten hold of a bagful of Silver Salutes.
Those were the kind that you lit and ran away from as fast as you could because they were powerful and later banned along with cherry bombs because they were too dangerous.I’ve never heard the whole story but I’m pretty sure my brother was demonstrating his bravado to friends by lighting and throwing them. He apparently waited too long with one and wound up spending part of that Fourth of July in the doctor’s office getting his hand sewn up and powder burns dressed.
I’m not sure if he was able to go along that year for our annual family trip to nearby Sinai for the city fireworks show.
It wasn’t much of a show by today’s standards but I can still remember my folks smiling faces as they leaned against our ’53 Mercury in anticipation of the next colorful explosion in the sky.
One year, my dad even took home movies of it.
You’ll have to come over and see them some time.

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