Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Birthday, 'Murica

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I have a lot of fond memories of the Fourth of July from my childhood.  The street I grew up on in a small town about 25 miles outside of St. Louis was a tight knit community.  Each year, most of the families on the street would chip in and buy what seemed like a never ending supply of fireworks.  We'd all gather in the cul-de-sac and watch as the dads would line up the explosives and one by one light them.

Everyone would "ooh and aah" as the rockets red glare would light the night sky over Cape Town Village.  The next day, many of the neighborhood kids would scour the yards looking for remnants of the celebration.  We weren't on a mission to cleanup, instead we would collect the paper parachutes and try to recreate the pyro that we'd experienced the night before.  Of course it was never the same.

One year when I was probably about ten years old, I remember lighting a fire cracker and rearing back with it to toss into the street.  (Not at anyone or anything, it was just something us High Ridge Hoosiers used to do).  When it was next to my ear, the fire cracker exploded in my hand.  For a few moments I couldn't hear out of my right ear, so naturally I panicked and thought I'd be rendered deaf because of my stupid move.  Of course my hearing returned and all my fingers remained intact, but the act deterred me from being foolish again with fireworks.  

Snakes! (not flaming piles of dog poo)

We'd also light up snakes and twirl sparklers, while taking time out to eat something from the grill and jump into the pool.  It was a great childhood experience.

July 4 in Lafayette, Indiana
Another memory, when we were living in West Lafayette, Indiana with our two sons, I remember heading to Riehle Plaza and the pedestrian bridge to watch the fireworks display the Great Lafayette area was hosting.  It was 2003, my boys were just toddlers then, but we watched with excitement as the explosives did what they do.  Moments after the display, it started raining.  Not just any ordinary rain, this was a downpour. We rushed to our car and headed home.  It didn't stop raining until the next day.  Many communities were flooded, causing a huge mess for families and businesses around the region.  It provided the station I worked for great stories, and I'll never forget that Fourth of July because of it.

A decade later was fun too, because of the pranks my co-worker Weston and I pulled on everyone. Watch the video above and you'll see two immature guys having a good time at the expense of others.  Nothing says 'Murica quite like that. Happy 4th of July everyone!

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