Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip # 375

Fourth of July Memories

When I was about 13, my best buddy, Mark, who lived across the street form me, and I heard there was a shop in Chinatown, San Francisco, where we could buy fireworks, which was illegal in San Francisco at that time. We hopped a bus and headed to an Asian Adventure.

We found the shop, actually a grocery store, called Wing Duc, found the owner who was in control of the fireworks department, which was hidden due to the illegality of the transaction. We got in an out of sight elevator and went down to a dreary basement where there were stacks of boxes of fireworks. We only wanted firecrackers and cherry bombs, and after agreeing on a price and paying him,we got on a lift that transported us up to the sidewalk of an alley to the side of his store. With hearts beating, we walked to the nearest bus stop, and headed home. We made it safe and sound.

And let me tell you, we had a blast (no pun intended) over the next couple of days, blowing up bottles and cans and scaring the heck out of Rusty (Mark’s dog). And to this day, I don’t like fireworks. Good thing I didn’t have to serve in Vietnam.

Speaking of fireworks, I have a friend, G, who loves fireworks. He came to visit my wife and me one Fourth of July, many years ago. He stopped at a fireworks stand on the way, and loaded up. He wanted to light some of them off.

My wife hated fireworks even more than I did. G was determined, so we took him to a beach where we thought it would be safe to launch his bottle rockets and twirly things over the water. We were standing in front of a grassy slope that supported some very nice houses on the top. My wife and I wanted to leave, but he lite some and, low and behold, one of the twirly gigs went backwards and crashed onto the slope and started a fire which, being July, was quite dry and spread quickly.

All three of us flew into action, stomping and throwing sand. G even rolled on some flames to put them out, which we managed to do. We all suffered quite a bit of stress over that Fourth of July celebration. It was quite a while before my wife forgave G.

So be careful, please.