Monday, July 3, 2017

"Those Things That Go Pop" Jim Terry

Tis the month of July and you know what that means don’t you?  FIREWORKS!  Don’t you just love fireworks?  Even now, when I see the firework stands being set up around the city, I can’t help but to smile and chuckle to myself while reminiscing about some really fun times with my family especially as a young boy.  

I remember saving all the money I could just so I could go buy fireworks.  I would even ask my Mom and Dad for extra jobs around the house just so I could spend it on–what I would call with my five year old jargon–"those things that go pop.” It’s hard for me to describe the excitement I would experience as a young boy. Probably the closest thing to lighting and watching fireworks for me, would be the same excitement one feels as a child at Christmastime.

 Some of my favorite fireworks were actually some of the most simple. The “poppers“, the “snaps” or “pop-its” are what I knew them by.  It truly is one of the only fireworks you can buy that doesn’t incorporate a lit match or lighter in order to have some fun.  You simply take one out of the bag and throw it on the ground and it creates a really loud "pop!"

 I remember several times driving into the city of Idaho Falls from the east foothills to purchase fireworks, but specifically the poppers. Generally, it was my sister Lora who would be my chauffeur because I was too young at the time to drive myself. And I hate to admit it–sorry Lor,  I have to let the cat out of the bag–that I would pick random victims, per the initial advice of my sister which later became a barrage of attacks per my own accord, and toss pop-its out of the window. Any person or sometimes animals standing, running or walking on the side of the road, minus mothers with babies, young children or other vehicles–even as a kids and with our mischievous behavior, we did have exclusions–could become a target. Once I would identify my target, I would then toss at least two to five pop-its out the window and have them land, perfectly placed of course, just close enough to the person or thing I was intending to startle or frighten.  

I will never forget that my first victim was a woman in a light blue dress and wearing glasses who was standing at the corner of Broadway and Yellowstone in my hometown of Idaho Falls. If I remember correctly, I think I was about twelve years old at the time, which would place us in the early eighties with this particular memory.  My sister and I were very stealth in the planning of our attack. It was the plan, since this was our first attack, to wait until the traffic light turned green to allow us to proceed through the intersection without getting caught and fire the artillery as we slowly passed the lady on the corner. 

As the light turned green and as we proceeded forward, the beads of sweat running down my brow from the anticipation of the woman’s reaction and the laughter we were going to experience, got the best of me.    I had grabbed five snap-its out of the bag and as I was about to throw them out of the window, two out of the five dropped down inside of the vehicle I was in and popped as I simultaneously tossed the remaining three out of the window. 

If there was such a thing as slow motion video back then and if I had been fortunate enough to have captured this moment in time, I’m sure I would have at least twenty million views on YouTube due to the level of hilarity that accompanied this action. Needless to say, I screamed, my sister screamed and the woman on the sidewalk screamed and jumped. To this day, I am not sure the woman screamed and jumped because I screamed while I was passing her or if it was my pop-its that did the trick?  I certainly wasn't going to turn around and ask her.  So as we continued to drive on, it was my own mistake that provided the entertainment for my sister and I this day. This was definitely another fun moment in my life in which I had to just laugh at my stupidity, yet creative and curious nature as a young boy.

But putting all kidding and reminiscing aside, and while you are experiencing all the fun with family, the parades, the picnics and yes, the amazing firework displays that you, your family or the cities you live in put on every 4th of July, don’t forget WHY we are able to have the freedoms we do. I saw a VIDEO recently that I would HIGHLY recommended you watch. If you have just one minute of your life to watch this, you will find yourself not being able to turn away during the remaining five minutes. In the video, there is a young North Korean woman who explains what her life was like under a dictator's rule. She literally risked and lost everything, including her family during her journey thus far in life, but finally gained a simple thing that she always wanted that most of us, including me, take for granted at times–her freedom!  I cannot corroborate the validity or the veracity of this video, but if even a fraction of what she says is true, we are indeed a lucky nation and people. 

So as I said before, while you are watching your local firework displays this 4th of July with your family make sure to remember "the rocket's red glare" and "the bombs bursting in air." It is because of this longing for freedom of our ancestors and those that did give, and continue to give us this privilege, that we have the right to say we are a free nation.  So enjoy sitting under the stars tomorrow night in the warm summer's night air, next to a river, in an open field, near an ocean or wherever your firework displays are located and make sure to have fun all the while watching "those things that go pop." 


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