It was getting dark but not dark enough to shoot off our fireworks. Jimmy said “let’s play picture cards while we’re waiting for it to get real dark.” “Great idea Jimmy, I’ll go home and get my baseball cards and meet you and Pecker back here in ten minutes.”I ran up stairs’ and got my shoebox full of baseball cards that I put under my sister’s bed. It took us less than ten minutes to meet at the corner of Hicks and Luquer Street in front of Chickies grocery store. I don’t know how much time we’ll have to play this game before it gets dark enough to shoot off all our fireworks. But we need to pass the time and not burn our fireworks until its real dark.
So here we are me, Jimmy and Pecker flipping picture baseball cards. I like to play this game. We like to by these picture cards hoping that we would find our favorite baseball players when we open the 2 cent bubble gum wrapper with the gum and baseball card in it. I like the bubble gum too.
The gum is the size of the baseball card and when you put this wad of gum in your mouth you can blow bubbles all day. Me and Picker are Brooklyn Dodger fans, them Bums, but Jimmy was always rooting for the Yankees. I don’t think of anyone I know is a New York Giant fan. The game starts by each of us shuffling ten baseball cards face down with the three of us in a circle.
I start by flipping two cards which land face up on the ground. Pecker now tries to flip his two cards to match mine. If his cards land face up he wins that round if he doesn’t match my cards, I win. The winner of a round always goes second trying to flip and match the cards lying on the ground. Pecker did not match my cards so I win that round. Now it’s Jimmy turn to flip and lay two cards on the ground. When one of us wins a round we take a close look at the cards we won to see if any of or favorite baseball players are in the stack. If we see one of the players we need to complete our team we set the baseball card aside for our collection. It’s a cut throat game; everyone wants to have all the players of the team they’re rooting for. Roger showed me how to play this game and he always tries to con me out of the best baseball cards. Roger is a deadly flipper. He tries to make me lay down six cards and you know what he will flip and matchs all of my six cards every time. I don’t play with him anymore.
We all looked at each other and agreed to stop play the baseball card game. It’s now dark enough and it’s time to start blowing up our fireworks. Jimmy, Pecker and me collected our stash of fireworks from our hideout. In order to keep lighting the fireworks a fast as we can we light up slow burning punks. They smelled better than some of the cigars that many of the teenagers were puffing on. We started blowing up the smaller lady fingers and fire crackers first. We would go slow and easy so we could make the fun last as long as possible.
Lady fingers were tiny little fire crackers that you could, light up, and hold in the tip of two fingers and when they go “Bang” the pain on your finger tips is not so bad. One pack held about eighty lady fingers. Each pack of lady fingers and fire crackers was supposed to go off at one time. But we would unravel each pack so we could light up one lady finger or one fire cracker at a time.
After an hour or so we of lighting up the small stuff one at a time we were getting bored. We wanted to up the action so we started throwing packs of fireworks at each other. It’s like an army of soldiers that were shooting machine guns at you. Once we started it didn’t take us long to burn through the small stuff.
It just had a life of its own. We always start slow and easy, one little bang at a time then faster like machine guns. Now comes the color phase of our celebration with Roman candles and rockets.It’s really starting to get dangerous. If anyone of us got hit with these Roman candles or rockets we would end up in the hospital with serious burns and if we survived we would be scarred for life. I started yelling at Pecker to “stop the shit…. Don’t point that Roman candle at me or I’ll put this cherry bomb up your ass.” I think he got the message. I must say that the colors were beautiful. The whole block was a glow with nonstop bright colors that seemed to be everywhere.
Here we go…. First small lady fingers, second firecrackers, then Roman candles & Rockets…. What’s next? You guessed it! The “BIG” bang…. We started throwing cherry bombs, ash cans and mortars. It got Loud and “LOUDER”. Roger was throwing his cherry bombs off the roof. We had to duck more than once. Each explosion would echo off the buildings again and again. The loud sounds made your ears ring and your body shake. What a great feeling.
Jimmy was the lighter, Pecker and me started to put a cherry bombs under upside down tin cans with the fuse sticking out. Jimmy would light the fuse with his punk and “BANG”. The can would go flying up two hundred feet or more. It doesn’t get any better than this.
It was almost midnight and we were sitting on the sidewalk, out of ammo enjoying the light show. I was sorry to think that this 4th of July was about to end. But the good news is that the summer was just starting and going back to school is a long couple of months away.
Jimmy looked at me and said “wasn’t this the best show ever?” Yeah Jimmy “for me too, but you say the same thing every year. I only wish it gets a little cooler this summer so that we can hang out without this heat killing us.” Pecker turns around and says “I’ve had it for this year. I’m going home. Let’s get together tomorrow.” We all said OK, see ya, and took off for home.