Passing by fireworks stands earlier today in Sawyer and in a residential area of Medicine Lodge brought back some memories of 4ths of July past. Back in the little town where I grew up, almost every kid made the trek (or bicycle ride) to Dewey's Fireworks stand, which was a little metal shed painted with [...]

Passing by fireworks stands earlier today in Sawyer and in a residential area of Medicine Lodge brought back some memories of 4ths of July past.
Back in the little town where I grew up, almost every kid made the trek (or bicycle ride) to Dewey's Fireworks stand, which was a little metal shed painted with red, white and blue stripes that had a window cut out of it through which Dewey sold the fireworks. The little building stood on a dirt road on the edge of a field near the curve of the highway that led north out of Cherokee, Oklahoma. Dewey also ran the candy store in town, so he was a friend to the kids, even the ones who didn't treat him well. I later learned that Dewey served his country in World War II. He continued to serve his community by selling fireworks to help us recall the sacrifices made by so many in behalf of our country.
One 4th of July, I purchased way too many firecrackers from Dewey. Even as a youth, I was cheap. I couldn't bring myself to light a whole string of firecrackers like some of my friends did. That would be wasteful. So, that year I popped each of the uncounted firecrackers I had purchased, one at a time, until I was sick of fireworks.
Another 4th of July, my father barbecued a meal for us and some neighbors before the big show at the football stadium just down the street. After finishing we walked the few blocks to enjoy the magical show with the rest of the community. Upon returning home, we discovered our much traumatized family dog, Smokey, who had wrapped his chain around the charcoal grill, pulled it over, and burned the fur off a portion of his tail. The 4th of July is definitely not the favorite holiday of any dog I have ever known.
I still, at times, experience the lingering effects of one 4th of July. My childhood friend Ronnie decided to find out what happens when you smash a firecracker with a hammer. It was his idea and he wielded the hammer. My ears were too close to the results of the experiment and I occasionally have ringing in my ears, usually set off by some loud noise.
All in all, I feel fortunate to have grown up in a day when you could buy bottle rockets by the dozens and actually shoot them off from glass pop bottles (I'm not sure how this works with today's plastic pop bottles). The 4th of July was a big holiday in Cherokee, with turtle races, greased pole climbing (or maybe it was greased pig catching, I'm not sure), and backyard barbecues across town.
The 4th of July is yet dear to the hearts of Americans. We celebrate this day to remember our Declaration of Independence from Britain and her King. Really though, it's a reminder that we as a people will not stand for tyranny in our leaders. May we never forget this as we go to the polls in future elections.