Originally created 07/04/05

Here's hoping I'm alive for holiday



By the time you read this, I might very well be lying in a hospital bed, my body bandaged from head to foot, my fingers scorched, my brain full of questions such as: Why, after all these years, did I finally decide to set off fireworks for the Fourth of July?

One reason, of course, is that fireworks, or at least the tamer versions, are now legal in Georgia. The way I understand it, we can set off fireworks that don't actually explode (yeah, I'm having trouble with that concept, too) and don't fly up into the sky.

What does that leave? As of this writing, I'm not sure. I bought a big box of assorted (Georgia-legal) fireworks and haven't had time to sort through it. My plan was to set the contents off Sunday night (last night, as you read this) while all the kids and grandchildren were in town. That way, I would have lots of people available to hose me down and call 911 when I did something wrong.

Unless, of course, they decided I made a better show than the fireworks.

Meanwhile, just across the Savannah River, South Carolinians will be installing mortars and other heavy artillery in their yards, ready to hurl incendiary devices over into Georgia.

South Carolina, after all, has honest-to-goodness, exploding, flying fireworks, and I've been told that state's motto is: "You can't go wrong buying from a guy whose first name is 'Crazy' or 'Wacky.'"

I'm a Georgia boy, though, and I haven't played with fireworks in years. Because of that, and because some of my neighbors aren't quite as law-abiding as I am and will be firing up their ill-gotten South Carolina explosives, I don't really look forward to the Third of July.

What's the big deal with fireworks, anyway? I mean, after you've seen them once in your life, is there really any point in seeing them again? How much more pleasure can there be the 37th time? Wow, look! Pretty lights in the sky!

Early each July, then, while my neighbors are celebrating their independence from the Mother Country - where they still drive on the wrong side of the road - I take it easy in my back yard. I'm not out there gawking at my neighbors' fireworks, but sitting in a lawn chair next to the water hose, just in case any of their explosives land on my roof.

I haven't always been this bah-humbug about fireworks. As a child, in fact, I was often the one lighting the fuse. Fireworks were legal in Georgia back then, you see, and we'd do such crazy things as seeing who would hold a lighted firecracker, cherry bomb or M-80 the longest before tossing it.

Hmmm, this could explain why fireworks have lost their appeal for me. It also explains why my friend Edward had singed fingers. He always had more guts - if that's the word - than I did, and he would not release the explosive until the very last second.

But don't try that at home, kids. Anyway, I understand M-80s and cherry bombs have since been outlawed in this country, even in South Carolina. I'd like to think I had something to do with the ban. Well, Edward, perhaps.

Because we grew up in the country, with few neighbors around to endanger, Edward and I would walk along the highway, blowing up tin cans we'd find in the ditches or tossing firecrackers onto the highway.

Later, after we learned to drive, fireworks became weapons instead of diversions. But that's another emergency-room report, and it cured me of fireworks for many years.

Until now.

Oh, well, I'm not worried. We're supposed to celebrate our nation's birthday, and I happen to like hospital food.

Reach Glynn Moore at (706) 823-3419 or glynn.moore@augustachronicle.com.