Yesterday was our Independence Day....a day of celebrating getting rid of those pesky Brits and commemorating it by eating too much, getting sunburned and blowing shit up. American traditions at their finest.
My personal memories of 4th of Juy's of years gone by are pretty much the same. I would get a skin searing sunburn that would leave me moving like a robot, unable to sleep, and vowing to never leave myself open to another one...yet doing it again the following year. Lessons are not always learned the hard way...or any way.
Another memory is of my mother sitting on the ground among a pile of fireworks and basically lighting and throwing them in various directions. Considering she was the first certified female blaster for the coal company she worked for back then...I wonder what they would have thought about her complete disregard for safety precautions...not to mention the precedent she was setting for her children regarding fireworks and safety?
One year my older sis got a very large chunk of her calf removed by daring to light a firecracker and dropping it into a coke bottle with every intention to be far enough away to escape the resulting explosion...unfortunately she did not consider that short fuses generally do not wait for you to place the bottle carefully down before turning and running for your life. The blood was impressive...so were her screams.
I remember the time I was cleaning my bedroom and suddenly smelled a burning odor. I looked around and saw an object on the floor and was reaching down to pick it up (thinking it was trash as I was in my cleaning mode) when it suddenly exploded a mere inch or so from my outstretched fingers. While my heart was debating whether or not it was going to continue beating and sustaining my young life...I heard my father and little sis out in the hallway laughing themselves to death. Apparently father had thrown the firecracker at me to scare me with the resulting boom...I wonder whose fault it would have been if I had actually managed to pick the darn thing up before it exploded?
One 4th my mother's company held a picnic for employees and families. My father declined to come, better for us, and I spent the day watching the effects when alcohol, fireworks, and insanity are mixed. I remember this particular picnic the most because our next door neighbor then, who also worked with my mother, got annoyed by something I did (he was drinking and I was playing horseshoes..I cannot remember what it was I did that irritated him...but being 13 who knows)..at any rate the end result was him giving me a full open handed slap across my face. (my jaw would hurt for 2 weeks after that) I ran to my mother sobbing and she did what she always did...covered up my abuse...only this time she hid it from my father..not for him. She assumed he would go after our neighbor...and she was probably right. While he felt he had every right in the world to abuse us....so help the man who thought the same.
Back to my epic sunburns as one in particular stands out. The last one I suffered through (before the one I got when Bahrain experienced a full scale blackout one summer...another story I may have told at some point on this blog) I was 14 and decided for some ungodly reason to wear a tank top for the very first time to the city picnic....sans sunscreen of any kind. (up to this point in time I was a t-shirt girl...never exposing anything more than my lower arms to the sun) My very white innocent skin on my shoulders, arms, chest, and back...were simply burnt to a crisp. For the next week I could barely move, sleep, eat,....move. I had huge blisters that looked disgusting and during one moment of sweet bliss lost in an exhausted cat nap...sitting up with pillows all around me...my mother took a needle and popped all the blisters. I woke up in a mess of blister fluid and more pain. Sweet.
Yesterday's 4th saw me pottering around my house...I didn't buy a single firework. I didn't go to the show (though I could see it out the window for the most part) and I didn't get a sunburn. Win! Just couldn't get into the whole Independence Day hype this time around...feeling rather jaded I'm thinking when I read how America is going down the toilet due to politicians intent on over zealously flushing the proverbial toilet again and again. I guess I didn't see the point of celebrating and forgetting for a moment that we are slowly (or not so slowly) losing our King of the Mountain (Superpower) status and the right to celebrate our so called freedoms, democracy, and 'don't you wish you were us" mentality.