With the Fourth of July only a few days away, my thoughts drift backward in time to the days of my wretched and misshapen youth. Fireworks were street legal where I lived, so everyone would set up lawn chairs and proceed to burn through paper wrapped gunpowder like it was, well, paper wrapped gunpowder. All the fireworks, even Smokey Joe’s Cabin (officially the most boring firework ever created, essentially a smoke bomb stuck into a cardboard house), were off limits to us youngsters. We had to sit a safe distance away while one-eyed uncle Chuck lit them with a cheap cigar while holding a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Hailey with a sparkler
There was only one firework that we were allowed to light on fire and hold in our hand. A single box of these glittering wands promised a good half hour of pyrotechnic frolic. They were hot and dangerous. They smelled like the matches you were never to touch and shot flames when you flicked them just right like a rocket launcher. Whatever you did with them, and whatever way you described them. Sparklers were magical. Make sure to have some fun with sparklers if you can this Independence Day. Make cool designs in the air like you’re Timothy Leary in Amsterdam. Run around like you’re a super-hero. Do a dance. Jump up and down. Make sure that you’re wearing some shoes to avoid stepping on some hot ashes, and be sure and put your burned out sticks in uncle Chuck’s beer. Celebrate the day. Have fun. Relax.