Serving Franklin County, WA

Happy 4th of July

Years ago, I wrote a column about how our family used to celebrate the 4th of July. Today, it is important to talk about some of those great traditions, again.

I can tell you Dad really liked fireworks. He wasn’t crazy into them, he just understood more than many the importance of Independence Day.

So, late afternoon on July 3, Dad would drive us to Lind, where they had real cool fireworks for sale in an old gas station leading into town on Highway 21. The tradition was one we looked forward to until the state banned the sale of firecrackers or in some cases dynamite light. Part of it was due to fire danger but mostly because people are not very intelligent and were injured severely or even died lighting fireworks.

We did not lose any fingers or burn any body parts or even lose our hearing because of firecrackers. I guess you can say we were pretty quick when the fuse was lit. After all, we wanted this tradition to continue.

After the trek to Lind, we planned how we would blow up these little explosive devices.

At our age, we had construction projects where blowing up dirt was important. But we also did the scientific experiments of blowing up cans or trying to launch some cans into the sky. I think the best one that we ever fired up went as high as our two-story house.

Dad was happy to set off a bottle rocket or firecracker or two. And laugh! Oh man, his inner child was fun to see. He had the time of his life getting some much needed entertainment and probably bringing back fond memories from when he was young. We were not wasteful as we meticulously separated each firecracker and lit each one with a real purpose.

Another tradition that we liked to do was to attend a Spokane Indians baseball game whenever they had a fireworks show following a game. Sometimes the game was on the 4th, but not always.

We always hoped it would be a good game but certainly not a game that would go into extra innings. These games were 10% baseball and 90% fireworks show afterwards.

A lot of our 4th of July’s were spent with extended family at the park eating fried chicken, macaroni and potato salad, and apple pie. That was certainly a time to appreciate what we had. Even though we were young, we understood the meaning of living in a great country.

We never took our firecrackers into town — we saved all of that fun for home. I think it usually took us about three days to blow them up.

But all good things come to an end and we never bought the safe and sane variety because of two words, SAFE and SANE!

A little danger was where the fun was and we knew how much fun it was for Dad to travel 11 miles to Lind. I still appreciate the fact I live in a country that allows us to be free.

A few years ago when my brother Larry was in a memory care facility because of early onset dementia, I would take him out for a walk and we would talk about those 4th of July’s and the fun we had with Dad.

We transcended 50 years earlier and laughed about the fun we had. I hope the last memories I had laughing with Larry never goes away.

God bless you! God bless America and God bless our wonderful memories! Happy 4th!

— Dale Anderson is a sports columnist from Ritzville. To contact him, email [email protected].


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