Fireworks FINALLY return to Austin, Texas
It happened is a flash…literally…I heard the explosion and stared at my hand, shocked out of my eleven-year-old mind. I had just touched the smoldering punk to the end of the fuse before tossing the firecracker away, but…instead of the familiar sizzle as the sparks made their way to the gunpowder packed cylinder, it immediately exploded... Zip---BOOM! I was frightened as my hand began to go numb while still throbbing in pain. Checking first to make sure I still had all my fingers, I then quickly looked around to see if anyone had noticed the mishap. My Dad was in our station wagon, going over some some paperwork and my brother was busily setting off fireworks in a large red ant bed nearby. It took everything I could muster to keep from bursting into tears from both the shock and the rapidly mounting pain. Here’s the deal, there was no way I was going to tell anyone about the accident because I figured it would mean instant banishment from setting off any more fireworks…probably until I was at least 35 year old. Whether that was a realistic fear or not, I wasn’t about to take any chances! In fact, think I was around thirty-five years of age before I finally told him about it and he was not the least bit surprised!
My brother, Mark Lewis and I have had a life long attachment to fireworks (some would call it an obsession) and to building fires in general. It’s probably some sort of primal throwback and I have observed the same fascination in the most unassuming men and sometimes, even some women pyrotechnic types. Though truthfully blowing stuff up is still primarily a boys pastime and no matter what age, that part of the “boy” is probably with men forever, along with a plethora of other maddening behaviors that keep our better halves constantly wondering when the heck we are actually going to grow up! At one time my brother and I seriously explored investing in a chain of fireworks stands but our father, who obviously knew much better told us it would be like having a couple of winos open a liquor store. Fortunately, his wisdom prevailed but we are still extremely serious fans in the amateur sense! And, I can verify that we both are known to spend our extra birthday and/or Christmas cash on a trip to a local fireworks emporium!
Unfortunately for all fans of fireworks, during 2011, almost all of Texas has suffered through a long and incredibly serious drought resulting in massive crop, stock and wildlife losses along with the worst wild fires in the recent history of the state. This past summer we were especially hard hit with the loss of over 1,300 homes in areas near and around Austin, primarily Bastrop. Of course this also resulted in the cancellation of many July 4th fireworks shows along with the banning of all sales of fireworks in many counties throughout Texas. However this December, I have GREAT NEWS. Central has been blessed with a large amount of rainfall in the last month so Austin's 2011 New Year's Event at Auditorium Shores is ON! Click the link for all the info! Also, fireworks stands are open all over and sales are reported to be brisk. I was driving to Houston yesterday and the irony was not lost on me when I even spotted a number of Fireworks Stands around Bastrop with the burned out acreage looming in the background…So, for those of you interested here is a map Austin locations where you can buy fireworks! That said, I am also including a link to The National Council on Fireworks Safety because no one wants the buzz-kill of some ridiculous fireworks mishaps!
PLEASE REMEMBER to use and detonate you fireworks RESPONSIBLY and SAFELY!
So that we can do it all again, NEXT YEAR!