Throwback Thursday 44: Fireworks! #TBTMemory

So, today’s questions all center around fireworks. Think I’ll just talk for a while…

Me, 40 years and 200 lbs. ago

When I was about 5 or 6, there was a Chinese family that lived down the block from us who made their own fireworks. Every night during the summer, they’d shoot off a bottle rocket, and on the 4th of July, they’d shoot off half their inventory.

One 4th of July, we spent the day with my Uncle Jack and his family. I must have been 9 or 10, because Dad was still alive. The big attraction that day was a fireworks show that we could see from Jack’s back yard. I don’t remember the show, but I do remember that, every hour on the hour, they’d shoot off a bottle rocket. You’d see the trail of the rocket ascending, see a bright-white flash, then BOOM! Three o’clock.

The best place to see fireworks in Chicago was at Comiskey Park, home of the Chicago White Sox. After the 1959 World Series, owner Bill Veeck (which rhymes with "wreck") had the scoreboard modified, removing the ad for Chesterfied cigarettes ("They Satisfy!") and building tubes that would hold fireworks. When a White Sox player hit a home run, they’d throw a switch and the fireworks would shoot out of the tubes and explode over the Dan Ryan Expressway as the hitter rounded the bases. After I got married, we lived upstairs from my in-laws, about a mile from Comiskey Park. We didn’t have air conditioning for a while, so we’d leave the windows open on summer nights. Every once in a while, we’d hear the fireworks at Comiskey going off, and we’d switch the TV to channel 44 to see who hit the home run. Of course, by the time the sound reached us, the hitter had crossed home plate and was back in the dugout getting high fives from his teammates, but we could usually figure out who hit it. They also had regular fireworks shows at the ballpark on Friday nights, after the game, that were pretty spectacular.

Speaking of fireworks after the game… on the 4th of July in 1985, here in Atlanta, the Braves played the Mets, and the fans were promised a fireworks show after the game. The game lasted 19 innings and two rain delays, and ended finally at 4 AM. And they still had the fireworks show…

I’ve written about living in the South and the culture surrounding fireworks several times, including here, and here. Now, it’s fairly normal to have and shoot off fireworks on Independence Day (July 4th) and New Year’s at midnight, but here, they shoot them off on Memorial Day, Labor Day, and several other times during the year. Most of these are shot off by young people who fire them indiscriminately.

A friend of mine said that one time someone took an M-80, lit it, and flushed it down the toilet in one of the restrooms at my old high school. All the restrooms were in the same place on all the floors, so when it exploded, water shot out all of the toilets. He tried to tell me that there was a Jesuit on one of the toilets, but I’m not sure I should believe him on that.

Seriously, as far as nonprofessional use of fireworks, I live by the old adage "it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye (or a couple of fingers)." I’d like to think that it’d be okay under adult supervision, but then I think about some of the adults I know, and I question the wisdom of that. Still, I have a problem with a blanket ban on fireworks, because there seem to be too many bans on things that bring pleasure to people. Maybe, as it was many years ago, the adults need to take charge again…

Lauren brought you this week’s Thursday Throwback. Thanks, Lauren!

Tally-ho and away we go!
See you next week with a brand new show!

13 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday 44: Fireworks! #TBTMemory

  1. In my neck of the woods, they shoot them off for no reason. It’s a ways away but we can still hear it. Scares our poor little cat!


    1. I love seeing fireworks when it is done by professionals. I hate the small firecrackers that go off near my home. It scares our animals plus someone, near where I live, had a fire, list of damage, caused by a firework. I am all for not selling them to the locals. I saw one family give the firework to their 3 yr old to throw it in the air but she wasn’t doing that. I was just ready to yell at them when they took the firework from her and threw it. Maybe, these people could be called a gang of idiots…I couldn’t write anything on Share Your World.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Molly doesn’t seem to be scared of the fireworks or the thunder, and her hearing seems just fine. We had another who would run behind the couch (which still left her exposed) whenever either started.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good point about banning everything, but still… kids… fingers… eyes… idk! I don’t remember if the fireworks I saw in Chicago were from Comiskey Park. Since we were lakefront, I think so? ❤️🤍💙


    1. Comiskey was at 35th and the Dan Ryan Expressway, quite a ways away from the lake. If I remember correctly, you were at Sheridan and Hollywood, so it would have been a stretch. Maybe you saw them from Navy Pier?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for joining in John. It sounds like you’ve had some great experiences. IMHO I’d like to see a ban on citizens shooting them off and leaving it to the professionals.


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