“Boom goes the dynamite!”*

I love using that phrase.

It seems appropriate around the Fourth of July.

That is when the view of Abilene from my home on a hill overlooking the city looks like the start of World War III.

“Did that one explosion have a mushroom cloud?”

I am not sure how the evolution of fireworks went about.

We went from Black Cats that could blow things up and shoot cans across the yard to firecrackers today that resemble Lady Fingers of yesteryear.

But while firecrackers have gotten less loud and less dangerous, other fireworks have gone ballistic in noise and danger levels.

We had these tiny bottle rockets, called that because one was supposed to set them off in a bottle (wink! wink!). Those are now banned in Kansas.

However, today we can buy fireworks that look like howitzers shooting multiple blasts of fire into the air one right after the other.

Our bottle rockets sounded something like a firecracker where today’s firework bombs cause veterans to have Vietnam flashbacks.

As kids, we mostly bought Black Cats.

I never understood why someone would light an entire pack of firecrackers at one time. Waste of money as far I was concerned. We played war by throwing firecrackers, trying to blow over toy Army soldiers.

I can sympathize with pet owners that have anxiety over firework explosions.

I can also sympathize with the anonymous Michigan neighbor who allegedly threatened his neighbors if they set off fireworks after 9 p.m. — or there would be consequences.

“If I hear ONE explosion after 9 PM, ANY DAY THIS WEEK — I will make your lives on Dove Lane insanely miserable,” the letter said. “Again, ANY NIGHT THIS WEEK — Sunday night through Thursday night, and s--t will hit the fan.”

In the letter, the person who wrote it says he or she starts work at 4 a.m. and last year on July 4 there were “very loud and obnoxious fireworks being blown off” so the person only got about two hours of sleep that night.

“If this happens again this year ... I will make yours, and your neighbors’ lives miserable for days and months to come,” the letter says. “ ... I’ll keep the retaliations lasting forever. You don’t know when I’ll retaliate, but it WILL happen, and it will happen over and over again.”

Trying to sleep within a couple miles of the Boy Scout camp on the Fourth of July was impossible as the firecrackers seemingly to go on all night long.

A favorite firework were the parachutes that actually had a toy soldier parachute to the ground, only to later be blown up by a Black Cat.

Occasionally an M-80 or Cherry Bomb would show up, lighting up the entire yard.

My family wasn’t into the shooting of fireworks because, after all, they cost money.

I know I have told this story before but there was the year the family splurged and mail-ordered a huge box of fireworks.

Though Dad worked in the post office, it did come as a shock when the postage for the box of explosives was more than the cost of the fireworks themselves.

Come the evening of the Fourth of July, we had family and friends over for the big event. Lawn chairs were in place. Drinks were in hand.

Out came the Roman Candles, cones, sparklers, ground spinners, smoke bombs, snakes and fountains.

We grabbed the punks out of the box to start setting off the prized fireworks. We had forgotten one important element.

“Anybody got a match?”

*This is a phrase used by Ball State University student Brian Collins. Sometime when you want a good laugh watch the 2005 YouTube video.

Collins agreed to take the place of a sportscaster who was ill. In all fairness, the teleprompter operator accidentally fast-forwarded through the script, leaving Collins to adlib most of the broadcast in a semicoherent state.

“. . Later he gets the rebound, passes it to the man, shoots it. . .and boom goes the dynamite.”

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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