Fourth of July!
By ‘Okie’ Bob Layton
While us adults celebrated it, with an outdoor barbecue, watermelon, and cold beer, our kids would hit up the local fireworks stand and stock up on all the fireworks they could afford.
We had a large gravel parking lot drive-thru located in front of the bait shop, and it was there I would let the kids pop off the fireworks.
I guess it was the hissing fuzes of the firecrackers that drove Flood completely crazy. The hissing sound must have reminded him of snakes, for Flood would attack a lit firecracker, and even if it went off with a loud boom, he was undaunted and would return time after time, to attack, and kill all lit fireworks.
How he kept from getting injured, I don’t know for he was never hurt. We learned to hold him back from the fireworks, for we had determined, not to trust him around any fireworks— because of what happened one fateful Fourth of July.
We had friends from town, Mike and Judy Yarbrough, David and Brenda Dehart, who would bring their kids out to shoot off fireworks along with our kids.
Us adults would sit on the porch of the bait shop. Lounging in lawn chairs next to our ice chests with beer in hand, watching the kids pop crackers and such. It was normal to have a dozen or two grown-ups sitting around the porch enjoying the Fourth.
Shortly after sunset, the kids would break out the Roman Candles and other aerial burst fireworks. I would kill the outside lights, and the after-dark fireworks show would begin. So we assembled on the porch the adults lounging and drinking
My son stuck a nine-shot Roman Candle in the ground and lit the fuse. Before the first colored fireball exited the tube, Flood grabs the Roman Candle by the middle and starts to shake the fiery beast for the kill. The problem was, his mouth full of fireworks——was now aimed right at us!!
As all nine shots of fireballs were discharged, we were, the post-analysis revealed, “shitting and a getting” all the while ducking for cover as the colored projectiles were being lobbed our way.
It was a country version of a drive by! Except no Glock Nines were used— Just one K9 with a Roman Candle.
After the last shot was discharged, Flood just dropped the “gun” out of his mouth, and trotted on over toward the porch, anticipating an earned scratch behind the ears!
We were all patting ourselves down with open palms, fingers extended checking for any hits when the second barrage went off.
In front of the porch sat a paper sack full of fireworks into which one of the stray fireballs had dropped an amber, and just about the time we thought we were safe—- Ka-Boom! We were lit up like the Fourth of July!!!
Bottle rockets went flying, whirly jigs went whistling by, Black Cats were popping off, Helicopter spinners were taking off, Aerial bursts were exploding –at –ground– level, while fountain cones spewed their blazing sparks of fire.
We went into hyperdrive, “Shitting and Getting.”
Flood, meanwhile, was trying his best to attack and kill all that unruly pyrotechnics. Running to and fro he finally grabbing a roll of Black Cat firecrackers shaking them violently while tossing them about our feet, all the while we were dancing a jig as they went off.
When it was finally over, I gathered up Flood and checked him over. Other than a few singed hairs he was unscathed.
The kids were disappointed, for their Fourth of July fireworks display had gone up——- in one quick dog orchestrated calamity.
The adults, however, were accessing the damage.
Temporarily blinded by the brilliant light and suddenly plunged into darkness, with ears still ringing, one could make out the noise of ice chests opening, cans being extracted, and that familiar spewing fizz— as beers were simultaneously opened.
We stood in DARK HEAVY silence.
Someone finally spoke, “Wooooooooe”.
Unknown loud voice: “Far out Man”.
Inquiring voice: “Someone pass me a beer?”
Another unknown voice: “Did you see that?”
Unknown questioner: “What the heck just happened?”
I added: “Damn, this Beer tastes good.”
Another unknown questioner: “Did Flood just try to kill us?”
Another comment: “That was a quick fireworks show”
Me again: “Damn this Beer tastes good.”
And that folks— was
And that folks— was the great 1995, Okies Oar, Fourth of July, Fireworks, Celebratory Ordnance, and Dog Show!