Here’s to a booming New Year!By TIM BEELAND,
I said I wasn’t going to do it. It just wouldn’t be as much fun without my best dog around any more, but last weekend I broke down and gave in to the urge. I told myself I owed it to Bella to continue the tradition of shooting fireworks at Christmas and on New Year’s Eve.
Bella was our elderly Yorkshire Terrier that died earlier this year. Ever since she was a pup she seemed to know the holidays were coming. Then each year when the little gift bag that I keep my fire crackers in was hung on the closet door handle, next to the front door, she knew it would soon be time to shoot the boom booms.
All I would have to do is reach into the bag and before I pulled anything out she sprung to action. She would bark and spin around in circles and, simply put, go crazy until we popped a cracker. Then she’d plop back down on the couch or the floor and cock her head to one side as if to say “what you looking at.”
Needless to say the firecracker popping is not nearly as fulfilling this year as it was the last 12 or 13 holidays. But, as I said, I owe it to Bella’s memory to keep the tradition alive. Plus I just really like shooting fireworks. I think its probably that I was born into a family of Cherry Bomb popping, M-80 blasting folks.
My dad always says “smells like Christmas” when the smoke settles and the aroma of gunpowder drifts through the air. I have to agree. It’s just not right to go a season without that smell.
Plus, after Bella died, my daughter had me a pair of socks made with the pup’s picture all over them. She said — my daughter, not the dog — they were for me to wear whenever I’m shooting fireworks so Bella can still be there with me. I couldn’t let those socks go to waste either. Right?
Anyway, I bought some firecrackers and spark-ling bomb things that the man at the booth convinced me would be pretty loud. They’re not, but will have to do.
It’s been about two years, I think, since we could buy the really loud stuff which has pretty much been banned — for the time being anyway — in this whole country, I think. Ruins it, almost, for me.
Just before the ban there was a fireworks stand in the Ross Barnett Reservoir area that I would hit up early every year and load up on the loudest thing I could find. The piece de resistance came in a little four- or six-pack of bombs, I don’t remember for certain, but the little suckers sounded like a cannon when the fire on the fuse hit the hole.
One Christmas/New Year’s week wife Danny and I were having our morning coffee when Bella and I decided it was time to shoot a boom boom. I’m telling you again, all I had to do was say the words “boom boom” and that dog would blow up herself. But anyway we were having coffee and I said to Bella “you ready to shoot a boom boom?” Of course she was, we did, we jarred my daughter out of her slumber, Bella cocked that head and looked at me as always, I poured another cup of coffee and sat back down at the kitchen table with Danny, and the doorbell rang.
Seems there was a sheriff’s deputy at the front door, and another peering at us though the kitchen door, so I smiled and waved and went to greet the one at the back. “We have a report that you have been shooting a muzzle loader in the front yard,” he said in all seriousness. Well I eventually talked my way out of that one since I don’t have a muzzle loader but did have some really sweet firecrackers.
A couple of seasons later a neighbor’s truck caught fire in their driveway and the tires blew out rocking the circle. As we stood in the road watching the firemen work another neighbor on the block said it “sounded just like a muzzle loader to me.”
“Hmmm,” I thought, “you’re busted lady,” as I hurried back home to check with Bella as to whether or not it was time to shoot some boom booms. I already knew the answer.
Here’s to a booming New Year!