Friday, July 4, 2008

I Still Got All My Fingers by Kat Magendie

When I knew it was my turn to write a YOG and the date landed on Independence Day, I quaked. For how can I compete with all the many things that will be said and written and done in honor of this day? I thought, “What am I grateful for when I think about July 4?” And what came to mind is this, and I apologize profusely in advance for it, but this is what I thought, “I’m so grateful my brothers and I never blew off our fingers.”

That’s about as profound as I am at this moment, sitting on a beautiful summer afternoon, my feet bare, my summer capris that are soft and comfy, my t-shirt. On such an important day, a day I should be writing about tears and sweat and glory, all I can manage to write is how glad I am we kids did not take those firecrackers, hold them in our hands, light the little teeny wick, and then before we could throw or put them on the ground, the firecracker’s wick burns faster than we ever thought, and KABOOM! there goes a finger or two, blown to smithereens, blown to bits, pieces of skin and bone and blood spurting. Well, that’s what our mom always said, “You kids better be careful with those firecrackers! You’ll blow your dang fingers off! You hear me? Kids? YOU HEAR ME! YOU BETTER BE CAREFUL OR YOU’LL LOSE YOUR FINGERS, EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM. YOU’LL HAVE NOTHING BUT STUMPS! I DECLARE I WILL TAN YOUR HIDE IF ANY OF YOU COMES HOME WITH A BLOODY STUMP INSTEAD OF FINGERS!

And we kids would run off laughing, both terrified and excited. We’d light those firecrackers and always came home with whole fingers, unburnt. Until the day Tommy held on a liiiitttttttle too long. KABOOMITY! And then the scream. And then the rest of us, David, Mike, Kat, Johhny, crowding in for a look at Tommy’s bloody stump as he hollered and jumped around like his feet were on a hot griddle. We made him show us his hand. All his fingers were there! Burnt but there. Not a bloody stump at all! Mom lied! Well. Huhn. But after that, Mom wouldn’t let us light fireworks unless an adult was around. So, of course we obeyed (not). Of course we never lit another firecracker without an adult (not). Of course no one was ever hurt again (not). So, I am thankful I never blew off my fingers on the Fourth of July.


Angie Ledbetter said...

LOL...what an original take on the day, but brought back good memories of childhood. Now, I'll be shouting those same warning about bloody stumps to my own kids tonight!

Barbara Quinn said...

You made me laugh with this one. I remember the little firecrackers..the lady fingers...those stung if they got you. And the "helicopters" that raced on the ground and could explode on your sneakers. I ran like mad to get away from those. Blowing up dog crap, and old toy models of cars. And I'm glad none of us were seriously injured!

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