Bottle rocket battles

July 3, 2014 

Having the Fourth of July fall on a Friday is an added bonus as an adult.

Of course, 25-30 years ago, it would have made this fun-filled holiday even better.

A day we get to shoot off fireworks and it is on a weekend? Double bonus.

As an adult, the Fourth on a Friday still has its advantages, although the neighborhood antics are much different now than they were decades ago.

I won’t be taking my 3-year-old out in the driveway to shoot bottle rockets at each other. Or playing the “how long can I hold this Black Cat in my hand, lit, before I throw it" game.

Those were just plain stupid. But, it seems, a time-honored tradition of boys everywhere, especially in this part of Missouri.

We likened our holiday to a bag of explosives, under the (sort of) watchful eyes of our parents.

We never got hurt. Much. Most of our clothes made it home without burn marks. We kept all our fingers. And in the morning, we cleaned up the cul-de-sac, picking up countless pieces of cardboard and spent fireworks while the smell of gun powder was still thick in the air.

We should have then (and should every day, now) stopped to remember and honor what the day meant.

So much of the Fourth of July is centered on our right to blow stuff up that we probably forget to give time thinking about how we arrived at that right.

That’s not to say the holiday itself is sullied by the amount of explosives that start days before and linger for days after the Fourth.

Like Labor Day, Memorial Day and others, we’ve taken this holiday as one of relaxation, rejuvenation, to celebrate family and friends and, hopefully, stop to acknowledge why enjoy these freedoms.

The dad in me, now, wants to cringe a little when I see the kids frantically chasing each other with lit bottle rockets.

Then I remember that, somehow, we survived this holiday, every single year.

So be safe. Be mindful of the holiday. And enjoy the Fourth on a Friday.

John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail

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