Saturday, July 30, 2011

Papa on the Forth of July

I know this post is coming at the end of July, and I will offer no excuse.  Next year and years from now we will read this on the right date so here goes.

Papa never had a problem bending the rules.  He used to say, "I do not lie, cheat, or steal, but I am sly, cunning and alert."  He was also a big stickler on safety.  So when it came to Fourth of July we never had fireworks.

There was a police officer down the street who used confiscated fireworks.  Papa's safety urge battled with his competitive streak.  He told me that it wasn't right to use those fireworks, but it also wasn't right that when he went to his National Guard annual training period (which he always called, "Summer Camp") he used pyrotechnics, like artillery simulators and even nuclear bomb simulators which put all the other cop's stash to shame, and he couldn't use them at home at all.

One summer he brought home a smoke grenade.  He reasoned that although it was a pyrotechnic, it did not explode and was therefore safe.

It was a purple grenade and he let me pull the pin, let the spoon fly and place it on the sidewalk behind the house (where Collum transmogrifies into Kenneth ).

You'll see in the photo what we expected it to look like, and how it did indeed start.  However, it expands from what you see here and the photo is probably in a pretty good breeze.

That day there was no breeze at first and the cloud built up and expanded.  Then the very slightest of breezes crept up and gently guided the purple cloud of non-visibility across our little street, up the slight rise and onto the Kennedy Expressway (one of the busiest thoroughfares in the country).
It wasn't quite this bad
Traffic instantly stopped.  Under our own smoke screen we snuck away, never to deploy any types of fireworks on Independence Day again.