Growing up in the Mystery Box-land that is Providence, RI, it has always been a special treat to await the festivities that are annually celebrated on one larger than life day here in the United States, Independence Day.
The Fourth of July.
I grew up near a beach, so in actuality it was the eve of the Fourth, on the night of the Third of July that was the real party, with everyone making bonfires along the beach, and lighting more illegal fireworks than could be imagined.
|Nothing goes better with fireworks than liquor and bonfires on a beach|
Fireworks in RI and MA were illegal. You needed to have someone run a trip up to New Hampshire and fill the trunk of their car, a flatbed, or the back of their truck with enough to satisfy families, friends and seemingly, entire neighborhoods. I can’t recall anyone ever being arrested for using fireworks, as it seemed that unless you really put folks in harm’s way, the local law enforcement looked the other way and enjoyed the spectacle like everyone else. Oh, and did I forget to mention that we had a family friend who was a policeman, and he usually supplied us with loads of firework every year.
|Get your illegal fireworks here!|
|Sparklers are fun until you discover the good stuff…|
|Rhode Island joins in the Fourth Of July spirit by legalizing fireworks in 2010
(photo © Bob Thayer / Providence Journal)
Stores large and small throughout the state scrambled to stock fireworks for the oncoming 4th, and everywhere you saw hand-made signs happily supplying the punters willing to shell out a few clams, all manner of exploding thrill.
A glorious time was to be had for all—except of course for the sensitive ears of babies, pets and anyone else who had a particular disdain for this incendiary nastiness.
Me, I have always been drawn to the sparkle and boom of the tiny joy of individual gunpowder delights.
I even lit packs of them off many times while appearing onstage in a band!
Having had many a small firecracker blow off in my fingers, I was as comfortable with firecrackers as I was reading comic books. It was not a pleasant experience for the fingers, but seemed to be a one of the rituals of growing up.
|A typical pack of firecrackers, still wrapped|
|Ancient Chinese bamboo firework|
This is a tiny fraction of the number I could easily share with you. These are mostly of the vintage variety, but some, as you can see, are more recent styles, and the images should speak for themselves.