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    Memories of the 4th of July

    So, what are you guys all doing for July 4th? There were fireworks up here at Sherman’s Amusement Park Saturday and all the traffic jam that goes with it. We of course, only have to go across the street to watch from our beach, so that’s one traffic jam we don’t have to worry about.

    Herman tells me that as a kid, the 4th of July was always a fun time. The rules about fireworks were a little less strict back then, so all kinds of sparklers; “M-80’s” firecrackers and so on were all over the neighborhood. Especially up at camp. He had an especially traumatic time when a chunk of burning sparkler fell down his cowboy boot as a kid, and left a permanent scar.

    So not all Herman’s memories of the 4th were good ones. With the sparkler incident, his mother rubbed butter on the wound (a common bit of home wisdom of the day) which didn’t help, according to him. He also watched one fireworks display with his friend Stevie from their rowboat in the lake. Since the fireworks were aimed out towards the lake, this was not the ideal safety spot.

    One particularly large canister of fireworks misfired and came down in the lake near them without exploding. (File the following under, “don’t try this at home!”) Stevie and Herman are still friends today, and they tell me the end of the story was that they with his cousin Dave transported the unexploded can of fireworks to a sandpit on Herman’s farm and set it off by building a fire and throwing it in. It’s amazing he made it to adulthood.

    Today Stevie and Herman are both in their late fifties. They tell me a hilarious story of their first vehicle they bought together from the proceeds of a newspaper route. The vehicle in question was a Dodge panel truck, similar to what used to be used to deliver baked goods to individual homes on routes. I guess that practice also dates them.

    Anyway, Stevie was driving the panel truck with Herman as passenger when Stevie dropped his jackknife and asked Herman to look for it before it went through one of the probable holes in the old flooring. You have to understand that Herman’s passenger seat was an old rejected lounge chair that would unfold on quick starts.

    So, as Herman was looking on the floor for the knife, he noticed Stevie also looking for the knife. This while the van was still moving. As Herman yelled, “Who’s driving this thing!?” they both sat up to see a telephone pole directly in front of them. Stevie quickly turned the wheel (resulting in the van going up on two wheels and spinning in a circle). Luckily, no other traffic (nor any police vehicles) were in the vicinity and they both lived to misuse their driving privileges another day.

    I guess part of holiday like the 4th include memories of past holidays and near disasters for all of us. I hope your memories are all good ones.


    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com