Today is July 4, 2006. In the United States they are celebrating their independence day celebrations with many fireworks. We had a lot of fireworks on July 1 however here in Canada our main day to blow up paper tubes of gunpowder and powdered magnesium is during the May 24 celebration of Victoria Day. Here is my entry from 2003
Friday, May 16, 2003: Ah Friday! And a long weekend as well!. Here in Canada we get the Two-Four weekend which is traditionally the weekend most people buy cases of 24 beer and drive up north to get drunk at the cottage. It is also the first long weekend of the summer and is not really named after cases of beer but rather Queen Victoria and her birthday party which is on the 24th of May I think. It is celebrated now on the Monday closest to the 24th.
Before this weekend was renamed the 2-4 weekend, the holiday Monday used to be called Firecracker Day. There were many fireworks displays on the holiday Monday. Neighbors on their front lawns would try to out do one another. Things are pretty much under control now. There are formal displays put on by the municipalities. A few of the locals still set off roman candles and burning schoolhouses after sunset but in the olden days it was a much bigger deal. For days leading up to the celebration we unsupervised kids exploded many fire crackers including big dangerous cannon crackers which every year blinded several unlucky children and burned down a number of homes I am told.
For weeks in any corner store we could buy 5, 10 and 25 cent packs and we did. We set off our firecrackers at unexpected moments in streets and laneways and also down by the rail way tracks. I remember huge cherry bombs that could launch tin cans with a force so great they flew as high as telephone wires. Unfortunately these things are no longer legal now so it is much quieter in the weeks leading up to this weekend today. Each year I suffered small, almost insignificant third degree burns but one year I nearly lost three fingers when in a moment of excitement and a split second lack of attention a spark from a match in my left hand traveled over to six cherry bombs I was holding in my right hand and they all went off all at once.
I last repeated the stunt back in back in 98. It was around midnight, New Years in the Caribbean. They shoot off firecrackers there on New Years like we used to on Firecracker Day. But the locals in the Caribbean seem so timid and frightened compared to us. I felt I had to get in on the act and began showing off; like how to fire a big cracker while holding it in your fingertips away from your face. Silly tricks like that and the one with the tin can flying in the air just to get a couple of cheap "Wows" from some ten year olds street children. Things were going along great but then in a moment of excitement and momentary lack of attention a whole handful of big firecrackers got a bad spark and in a tremendous explosion blew up in my hand.
Of the event I especially remember the spark, the big bang then a blast of fire and smoke. I pretended it did not hurt. This was no doubt much to the amazement and everlasting wonder of 15 youngsters who were disappointed that the famous pyrotechnic wizard who came all the way from Canada had to call the show off early. Here is a picture of the hand a few days later.
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