March is capable of throwing atmospheric belly-punches at us. Those golf and outdoor days, however, overpower to promise holidays and vacations on the way!
There’ll be Easter, Memorial Day then Independence Day – and from there we’re full blower to Labor Day!
Me? My favorite of all – UP UNTIL 1942 – was “4th of July,” good ole Fire Cracker Day!
1942, unintendedly, left something of a sour taste in my mouth where fireworks are concerned. Big time shows I try to avoid. I even stay home on OKC OPENING NIGHT, it gets my heart rate up. Sometimes It’s not so much the Bang, Bang that makes your ears ring!
By 1942, WWII was running Oklahoma City wild with Army, Navy and Air Corps bases all over the state creating an economic boom town of Black Gold proportions. The City was literally “bursting at the seams.” Young local men enlisting and leaving in droves; neighborhoods prolific on any Summer night hosting farewell parties for beloved sons. One such planned event set the stage for the happenstance which would “Live in Infamy,” I might say.
“Dale” was the older boy at school whose cool style I tried to emulate.” Dale” even let me deliver his afternoon Times while he did sports – paying $1 every week. One day he came offering the honor of working a day in the two fireworks stands where he worked. I was to fill in for him on Saturday while he attended his big brother’s Farewell Party – and, for the customary “Buck” which included Friday training day.
At the assigned time, I bicycled to the stands out front of the old LOG CABIN THEATRE at US66 at Penn on 39th. (The few who remember the rustic movie house will recall the environment of the time made it a top local draw, full of uniforms and pretty girls.)
Training sailed right along – making change, sacking, displays, all that business stuff! Afternoon the owner came with more inventory. Life was wonderful. But afternoon business slowed so the boys decided to move the stand across the road to form a Fireworks Supermarket. Closeness led to some operational training on methodology…all participating discreetly in firing a few rounds. But when my cola break inside the movie came, two of us lingered inside for a time but were shocked by a noise sounding much like a 2nd Battle of Britain! The audience understandably near panicked and evacuated in military retreat. By the time we wormed our way out to the large Ranch-house style veranda the movie audience was enjoying OKC’s first, and surely only daytime pyrotechnic super-show. Some ingrates were complaining “they should have waited till dark.”
Alas, at the scene framed by the blazing fire stood “Dale” holding my bike ready – for- mount. “Head straight home like a Roman Candle,” he uttered, “pretend you were never here!
“Some guy in a pickup drove by and threw a Cherry Bomb at the stand, maybe a competitor? _ That’s our story!”
“Dale” hasn’t paid me the Buck?