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Mike Tasos: Memories of past Fourth of July celebration stick with me
Mike Tasos

It’s doubtful your hearing is OK at this point in the weekend, so I’ll try and write real loud.

By the time the weekend is complete, I imagine I’ll be feeding dozens of dogs, who felt they were up close and personal with a detonated nuke. 

Bombs bursting in air always made our Chester fret his days of steak and Delta biscuits had come to an end. 

I’m putting the word out: Any dogs who have become disoriented can seek refuge at our house. We’ve got a quiet man cave and a boxcar of leftover dog treats that should calm your nerves.

As for you cats scrambling for solace: You are on your own and will have to fend for yourselves. Sorry, but those are Chester’s rules, not mine. He liked you a hundred times less than a trip to the vet. 

Today’s fireworks are not for the faint-of-heart. If you’re a firebug, lots of potential with what is being sold. Over the weekend, Cumming will be right up there with any worldwide war-ravaged region. 

Forget sparklers and fountains. Get ready for a ton of badass Beijing ordinance rattling your windows and scaring the gunpowder out of you. What is being shot off is just a rice noodle or two shy of blasts that would make am Army demolition expert proudly salute.

In years past, being able to experience window-rattling from the comfort of home was a rarity. Every year, our Central Park baseball team was at the beach, usually Panama City, for huge tournaments that encompassed banana boat rides, sunburn fishing and other activities.

Before getting to PCB, a stop at an Alabama fireworks megastore that looked more like a Walmart one match away from carnage, was warranted. Winning wasn’t as important as fun. These Bulldogs made their marks at the resort.

One of our parents, Tommie Brock, was ex-military. Papa Kenny Cagle encouraged his spouse Carolyn, to go match-for-match with Tommie. They were fleet-of-foot, as were their respective sons, Hunter and Noah. Kenny and I never had to touch our Calibri torches, unless we were lighting cigars.

The game went like this: The cost-prohibitive bombs were carted to the beach. The pyrotechnic parents devised an order the display would be lit. Upon successfully lighting the fuse, they’d scamper like mad for the safety of the beach.

The ensuing explosions, comprised of every color imaginable, afforded all those affiliated with our team, the opportunity to puff out our respective chests and swell with Forsyth County pride. The beachfront high rises were probably a potential disaster. The balconies were crammed full. 

No matter.

Each explosion would result in record-setting Rebel yells that continued well into the night. We were told it might have set some sort of Redneck Riviera record. When the display concluded, the alcohol-fueled audience waved fire of their own and bellowed for an encore.

Sorry folks. Show’s over. But there was still some entertainment. 

At one point, while bombs were bursting in air, a weathered denizen of the beach, almost as if on cue, magically appeared and offered to be our personal pyrotechnic wizard. For a fee, of course.

There were a few things off-kilter. By the smell of his breath, putting Quint anywhere near a flame could well have resulted in a torts lawyer’s dream and sure-fire third-degree burns for our budding helper. He claimed to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the ins and outs of all thing’s fireworks, even claiming to have relatives who knew Mao and still lived in China.

Despite my new friend’s claim of expertise, before shaking hands I noticed a right hand that was a permanent “Hook ‘Em Horns” sign. 

He was missing three fingers and the faint smell of gunpowder seeped from his pores. 

I arched an eyebrow, questioning his less than half a hand.

“Oh, don’t worry. We’ll be fine.  You can’t trust those California M80s.”

Mike Tasos’ column appears every other weekend. He urges everyone to be safe, sane and sober when/if you’re planning on blowing stuff up. And please provide solace to pets. Even cats. He is on Facebook and can be reached at