On the advice of attorney, I want to make it clear at the outset that I can’t be sure the box labeled illegal fireworks really contained illegal fireworks. Because the description was in an unfamiliar language. It certainly did have pictures of very large, bright explosions. Anyhow, the statute of limitations must have run out by now.
It does seem strange that, after a mere 35 years — nobody seems to remember anything about it. I don’t think the fact that the attorney I mentioned is a very close relative who lived in my house at the time of the incident has any bearing on this. Why would it?
“Probably happened before I was born,” the attorney interjects.
This is a cautionary tale, and I want to make it clear that I would never allow fireworks of any kind, safe or not, in my house. But the very large box appeared mysteriously just before the Fourth of July one year quite a long time ago. Any sensible person would have removed it from the house at once and had it safely destroyed. I left it there on the dining room table for a while as I tried to figure out who had the effrontery to bring it into my home. I left it in my house while I figured. When I came back for the box, it was gone. I envisioned fire and explosion. I swore in three different languages. Actually I don’t know three different languages, I made them up, but it was still impressive. The box was still gone and remains gone to this day.
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Upon reflection, I’m pretty sure my husband brought the fireworks home. He was one of those engineering types who loved nothing more than creating things. Unless it was destroying them, preferably with a big explosion or better yet, a series of explosions.
An anonymous offspring takes up the story from here. His voice is disguised:
“I am sure that Dad, and any children who may or may not have accompanied him, only fired off fireworks at home which were of the totally safe and sane grade. Likewise these pyrotechnics were totally purchased from fireworks distributors that were properly licensed and regulated by the Great State of Washington. Said purchases were mostly likely from a couple of dudes who set up a very confidence-inspiring tent in the parking lot of Safeway or Seven-Eleven and not in Idaho, Oregon, British Columbia or any other sovereign land not ruled and regulated by the Evergreen State.”
I should point out that any idiot knows — I certainly know — that it’s incredibly dangerous to keep fireworks — even safe and sane fireworks — on hand year after year. Any number of terrible things might have happened, but nothing did. We were just very lucky.
So here we are and it’s the Fourth of July. Do you know where your fireworks are? Then I found this note, signed simply, “Highly Placed Official, speaking on condition of anonymity.” (Voice disguised and wearing funny glasses and false nose.) No one seems to use their names any more.
“The aforementioned fireworks (some of which are rumored to have been roughly the size of small mortar shells and launched at least 30 feet in the air and were totally wicked) may have been fired off by some one of your younger children who may or may not have been accompanied by one or more of his siblings. This happened while one of their parents was spending the Fourth with her swinging single friends — er — I mean members of her civic organization.”
Now you see how these stories get out of hand? That just isn’t true. I was never a swinging single. I couldn’t even be a helicopter parent because I couldn’t pass the hover test.
But now that the Fourth of July has come again, someone in your household may be getting the urge to go far afield and look for fireworks, something a little different or exciting. My advice is distract them with hot dogs or potato salad, or march around the yard waving American flags. But if you do see a box with pictures of really big fireworks on the side, I wouldn’t open it. Call the proper authority. Or 35 years from now, you’ll still be wondering where it went. Happy Fourth of July!
Dorothy Wilhelm is a professional speaker and writer. Follow Dorothy’s blog at itsnevertoolate.com. Contact her at P.O. Box 881, DuPont WA, 98327. Phone 800-548-9264, email Dorothy@itsnevertoolate. com.