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The Scrooge of Independence Day · 30 June 2013


The fourth of July is just around the corner, and I am sure I will be the Scrooge of Independence Day yet again.


Do not get me wrong. I love The Fourth. I love the meaning of Independence Day and I have many great memories of celebrating when we were kids.


One of my favorite memories was the Fourth of July parade. Growing up in Colorado, we would go to the Greeley parade to see my cousins in the marching band. Besides my cousins’ band, it did not really matter to me whether anybody else played a song or not. I just loved to hear the cadence as all the bands marched down the street. I loved to hear the drums.


I loved to hear the fireworks too.


We would gather at the farm and light fireworks from morning (both before and after the parade) ‘til night. It did not matter that the colors were not as brilliant in the day as they were at night. We just liked to hear and sometimes see things go boom.


One of my favorite things to do was see a tin can blow high in the sky.


I am not sure whether it was our Dad or an uncle who showed us, but somebody showed us a neat trick to do with firecrackers. It started when he said firecrackers were wasted when all we did was light and throw those little cylinders on the ground to hear them go boom. So he took a tuna fish can and a soup can and made a mortar.


Both cans were already opened and had one end gone. He just took a pocket knife and put a small hole into the intact end of the soup can. It had to be the size of the firecracker so that it fit snugly. He put water into the tuna fish can and set it on the ground. Then, he put the firecracker most of the way through the hole so that the fuse was sticking out. Finally, he put the can with the firecracker into the water so that there was a pocket of air formed by the two cans. The water acted as the seal but also directed the soup can. The only way the soup can, our mortar, could go was straight up. The mortar was ready.


We kids got to light the firecracker fuse and run away. When the fuse burned down, we would cover our ears and “ooh” and “ah” as the firecracker went boom and shot the soup can into the air. Of course, there was no midair explosion like the sophisticated mortars of today, but it was still lots of fun.



If life was that simple today, I might not be such a Scrooge. I might actually like going to the firework stand to get a bunch of firecrackers that would last my kids all day while they shot their homemade mortars. Instead, I hate putting a second mortgage on my house to get a package of fireworks that will provide what seems like just a few minutes of entertainment. I do not say “Bah humbug” to The Fourth of July itself, I just say it toward fireworks. After all, I hate to see my money go up in smoke.


I have many memories associated with Independence Day. I still like parades and fireworks. But as I have gotten older, I find myself less inclined to want to spend money on fireworks. I suppose I really ought to lighten up. I do not actually need to take out a loan to get fireworks. I am responsible and give my kids a budget to pick their stuff. Besides, we usually get everything from the fireworks stand that benefits our church youth group.


When it comes right down to it, I really ought to relax. I really ought to get my attitude back to the days of loving The Fourth of July. I really ought to stop being the Scrooge of Independence Day.



[To my longtime readers: If this sounded familiar, you have been reading my stuff for a long time. I wrote something similar in 2010.]

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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