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Get ready to hear the sounds of summer

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POSTED June 30, 2012 12:52 a.m.

Boom. Crackle. Whistle. Sparkle. Poof.

They’re all common sounds this time of year thanks to the sale of “safe and sane” fireworks.

And they all make me giddy like a schoolchild.

For whatever reason, I’ve always been drawn to fireworks – the smell of burning sulfur and the sight of the flashes and the sparks and the way that the cone sends a final burst when it reaches its end.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that when spending Fourth of July in Grass Valley when I was younger, my father wouldn’t allow us to purchase or light any of the seemingly amazing things that everybody else was playing with.

They were too dangerous, he quipped – marveling at how the community would even allow the sale of fireworks after a massive grass fire nearly burnt up the entire community.

Logic, however, wasn’t in the forefront of my mind.

All I wanted to do was see that fuse slowly burning towards a ground bloom, a sparkling cone finale set that explodes in a colorful display for minutes.

It never happened. I had to rely on the professional pyrotechnical display that illuminated the night sky to fill my fascination with gunpowder.

But then something amazing happened.

I grew up.

All of a sudden I’m able to jump into my 1981 El Camino and drive to Ripon to buy a bag full of Piccolo Pete’s and smoke bombs.

Was it sparkler sticks that I wanted? Check. How about a nice big fountain for all of the friends to enjoy? Check.

Sure it wasn’t technically legal in Manteca, and lighting off fireworks that whistled and gave away your location probably wasn’t the smartest idea in the world. And then there was the whole dad aspect – “You aren’t keeping any fireworks in my house.”

It wasn’t long until Manteca jumped on board and daily trips down to pick up my own pyrotechnic displays were possible. Then and there I became that schoolchild all over again.

This time around I got the chance to share this experience with actual schoolchildren – those of my best friends that were mesmerized by the bright and vibrant colors the same way that I was when I wasn’t much older than they were.

I’ve come full circle. Sure, they aren’t my kids, but I have seen some of them grow up rather quickly and it’s great to be able to enjoy one of the things that I enjoy and look forward to with somebody that jumps up and down when the whistle begins or the crackle starts.

And I honestly want to join them. There’s always the designated fireworks lighter but I’m the guy that jumps the line simply because I can’t wait to get my next one out there or watch the action.

Maybe it’s manliness. Maybe it’s just fun.

A group of friends and I did combine the two on a trip to Pismo Beach when we combined the two with empty water bottle dry ice bombs – blasting sand for the majority of the weekend.

Dry ice, however, doesn’t have that lingering sulfur smell.

Boom. Crackle. Whistle. Sparkle. Poof.

They’re the sounds of summer. They’re the sounds of freedom. And they’re the sounds of something that a lot of people look forward to when the weather starts to warm up.

So get your water buckets ready and make sure you’ve got a spot picked out where you’re neighbors can enjoy the show as well.

Fireworks are a slice of Americana.

Enjoy them.


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