Christmases used to be explosive

Published 6:31 pm Tuesday, December 16, 2014

There’s no holiday like Christmas, especially for kids. I don’t know what kind of memories are being created by and for today’s young boys and girls, but when I was growing up, Christmas was really the most wonderful time of the year.
One memory for me that might sound a little strange was one that includes fireworks. Most people associate firecrackers and such with our Independence Day holiday, but, for me back in my younger days, Christmas meant a good selection of sparklers, Black Cats, Roman candles, M-80s and maybe even some cherry bombs.
Fireworks were illegal in Georgia, but since Donna Sue’s home is in Alabama, I have learned that fireworks can be purchased in that state very easily. I don’t know if Granddaddy would get them on his own, but I suspect he depended on his sons-in-laws who lived near or in Alabama to get the Christmas fireworks.
It also happened that our local country store, Mobley’s, would have a few strings of small firecrackers as the days of Christmas approached. As I have grown older, I have wondered what else that little country store sold.
A few weeks before Christmas, we would visit Mobley’s and ask discreetly whether he had a string or two of small firecrackers or even a few M-80s or cherry bombs. Those latter two were just short of sticks of dynamite in our innocent minds.
Fireworks and Christmas went together like peas and carrots, as Forrest Gump might say. My brother and I needed only two other things, other than fireworks, to make Christmas complete. Actually they weren’t two other “things,” but rather they were two people.
For my brother and me, Christmas was so much fun. It was tons of anticipation, decorations, firecrackers, and, perhaps best of all, a visit from our two cousins, Bruce and Johnny. They were first cousins; the sons of my Uncle Charles and Aunt Selma Thomas. Both Uncle Charles and Aunt Selma have since passed but lived in Bainbridge for many of their retired years.
When their children were young, so were my brother and I. Christmas time was when we got together for some of the greatest “play time” of all time. I don’t know how Santa did it, but when Keith and I got army stuff, so did they. When we got football uniforms, so did they.
It was firecrackers, though, that really got us going! Granddaddy would spread out the demolition material and we would divide it up. Sometimes we would put it in our army surplus backpacks. That reminds me of a funny story.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had not been created yet. That’s the federal agency that keeps us safe, supposedly. How we lived through our growing years without OSHA, I’ll never know. We would do things then, that if we did them now, they would put us under the jail!
We used to throw our firecrackers at each other because we were serious fighting warriors. My brother’s backpack was full of his firecrackers and, somehow, one of our thrown firecrackers landed in his backpack full of firecrackers. It set off a series of explosions that ripped his backpack apart. You should have seen him getting it off his back! We still laugh about it.
That’s one Christmas memory amongst many. It’s funny how we had so much enjoyment and not one of us had an iPhone, an iPad or a game station.

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