My wife won’t allow me to shoot off fireworks anymore. Well, my wife and everybody else that knows me, that is.
For a long time, fireworks were illegal in Georgia, but for two glorious nights every year, everybody in the state wantonly abandoned all sense of good citizenship and broke the law. On New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July, you could just about read by the light of all the fireworks exploding overhead. And the amazing thing was that the police just looked the other way! It was like prohibition all over again.
And I freely admit that I was one of those law-breakers (Note to self: Check with attorney before publishing article to see if statute of limitations has expired for fireworks criminals.)
In my defense, I didn’t start off as a fireworks criminal. I originally bought my fireworks at a local grocery store like a chump. When I brought them home and lit the fuses I was treated to a “shower of sparkles” in a “rainbow of colors” which I found out meant they sort of fizzy-snappy-popped for about a minute or so.
To be honest, I felt they were just fine, until I saw my neighbor shooting off his fireworks. His were all World War III, end-of-life-as-we-know-it, while I’m over in my yard with my little Fisher-Price sparklers.
So, right then, I decided I was going to Tennessee to buy some real fireworks. A few months later I drove to one of those fireworks stores they strategically place on the border and loaded my trunk with enough explosives to place me on a terrorist watch list. Then I drove them back home and felt like a Colombian drug lord smuggling my wares back across the Georgia state line.
The next Fourth of July, I bolted out to the street the instant it became dark and lit my fireworks with all of the enthusiasm and expertise of a six-year-old. After I lit my first rocket, I was filled with wonder and amazement–at the rocket, sure, but mostly at the legal loophole that somehow allows these battle-ready explosives to be handled by the general public. God bless America.
About five minutes into my fireworks display, things went a tad awry. For some reason that I cannot now recall, I thought it would be a great idea to place a box of 24 rockets on top of another box. Right after I lit the fuse (how many tragic stories begin with those words?) the whole box of 24 rockets tipped over on its side and started blasting my neighbor’s house.
For a moment, I considered throwing myself on top the box of explosives just like Captain America throwing himself on a grenade, but then I remembered that type of thing often results in an agonizing death.
My second idea was to kick the fireworks to the side so they weren’t pointing at my neighbor’s house. What I actually wound up doing, though, was staring with my mouth agape, watching volley after volley fire directly at my neighbor’s house. I remember standing there thinking, “Huh. There’s something you don’t see every day.”
The worst part is that my neighbor is a Vietnam vet. God only knows what must’ve been going through his mind as I was launching missiles at his house.
And we can always count on God knowing. There’s a verse in the Bible that has encouraged me throughout the years that says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Ps. 46:1 KJV)
God doesn’t promise we won’t have any problems, but he does promise he’ll be there to help. That means no matter what the situation is—financial, physical, familial, or if a neighbor is firing rockets at your house—you can call on the name of the Lord.
The good news about this story is that now I live in a state where fireworks are legal. The bad news is that it doesn’t matter how legal they are now, my wife still ain’t going to be okay with me having them. And, you know what, I think she kind of has a point.
© 2019 Charles Marshall.