– What would the 4th of July be without fireworks (and mothers)?

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In a couple of days we will be celebrating Independence Day in America. Sure the patriotic symbolism is meaningful, but to young men it means just one thing, fireworks. Over the years, I have blown up my share of firecrackers, Roman candles, cherry bombs, M-80’s, rockets, etc. I consider it a sort of rite of passage. For youth, stopping at a fireworks store along I-75 in Tennessee is like making a religious pilgrimage.

I always found the instructions printed on fireworks rather amusing which simply says, “Put on ground, light fuse, run away.” I didn’t know exactly where they wanted me to run away to, I had already been to the circus, so I just stood back a few feet and watched the firecracker explode.

The secret to enjoying fireworks is just a little common sense. No, you do not light it while holding it in your hand, or sticking it in your ear, or emulating a cigarette. For those idiots who do so, I believe the expression is, “Thinning the Herd.” Fortunately, I ran with a crowd who had some smarts about them.

Fireworks drives mothers crazy, and I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard my mother warn me, “You can put your eye out that way.” I think this was the standard warning for just about anything I did, be it riding a bicycle, playing baseball, swimming, running, or breathing. It is the first cardinal rule each mother must learn in order to bear children. I wasn’t alone either, all of the mothers of my friends admonished them with this same expression regularly. So much so, we thought our mothers had formed a conspiracy or some secret society for the sole purpose of maintaining our eyesight.

The power of mothers is rather interesting. Years ago, Jay Leno commented that mothers had the uncanny ability to sniff out just about anything, even better than a bloodhound, such as your secret copy of Playboy you kept stashed away in your bedroom. Back before the Iraq war started, he said we should not have wasted time sending in a team of UN delegates to look for weapons of mass destruction since they never found anything. Instead, they should have sent in a team of mothers who would have pulled Saddam Hussein out by the ear and cleaned up the situation right away. It would have probably saved us all a lot of grief.

Mothers are full of little axioms they use to keep us in line, but I have to think, “You can put your eye out that way,” has to be their favorite with, “Stop it or you’ll go blind,” coming in a close second.

Have a fabulous (and safe) Independence Day.

Originally published: 07/23/2007 (revisions added)

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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