My uncle Chuck was not only a firefighter, but he was the Battalion Chief, and he was always concerned with our safety as children. He was such a good person, and sadly we lost him to brain cancer a few years ago. He gave his life to his work, literally, and he really cared about his role as a firefighter. He was always reminding us to change our fire alarm batteries every few months and not to play with matches. One time, when I was an adult, he even saved my daughter’s life when she was having a mild asthma attack and he happened to have a nebulizer mask that she could use to take her medicine.
And yet, somehow we spent every 4th of July at my aunt and uncle’s house, gathering together for my cousin’s birthday and for fireworks. Not fireworks that we watched from afar, but fireworks that we had on the street. We kids were only allowed to hold sparklers and wave them around until they died out, but the real fireworks were handled by some adults. To be honest, I am not sure who ran the fireworks show and where they got them, but back then I think they were allowed. Today I would have no idea where to buy fireworks unless we drove to another state.
As fun as it was, and if you have them or anything like them this holiday, you have to practice safety. Kids can not be allowed anywhere near the fireworks. Unfortunately, a girl in my grade school hurt her hand badly by messing with some sort of firecracker than wound up costing her a finger. Thank God it wasn’t an eye or worse.
I don’t mean for this post to sound preachy, but this is such a special time. A time for kids to be kids and enjoy their time off from school. A time for we as Americans to appreciate our freedom and independence and celebrate those who helped us and help us to maintain this status. And a time for food, family and friends. So kick back, fire up the grill, have a tall cold one and eat a big fat burger but don’t let your kids play with matches, as Uncle Chuck would say.