Our Family’s Pyrotechnicians

Posted by Danny

Why is it that the fourth of July turns seemingly normal men into temporary pyromaniacs?  I bet that’s how those fires started when Yellowstone burned down years ago.  Had my brother been in Wyoming at the time I would have guessed it was him.

It actually started with my brother-in-law Matt during our first beach vacation the last week of June.  He showed up for the weekend giddy with his Costco purchase.  I knew they sold toilet paper by the crate, but dynamite?  Apparently for $30 you can walk out with enough explosives to burn down four sand dunes and two three story beach houses.  You can always get a great deal there.

On our last night, after dinner, he grabbed a bag from the carport and announced he had a treat for all.  The kids gathered around as he unpacked his treasure.  On the side I saw the letters T N T.  I felt like Wile E. Coyote.  Had the Road Runner come to blow me up?

Have you ever tried to light a match on the beach?  All the men in the family were expected to gather around the explosives to block the wind while Inferno Boy struck the match.  If per chance the fuse did ignite, we were instructed to run like hell. 

After several attempts and extreme disappointment from Matt, we moved the package of pyrotechnics to our pier which was wedged between sand dunes.  This time it lit.  I took cover on the beach with the children, poised to jump in the Atlantic if necessary.

The sparklers began, flames popping out left and right.  The wind carrying the balls of fire blocks away. 

I’m sure the neighbors were appreciative of the free entertainment – well, those whose porches weren’t on fire.

The next week, at the beach with my side of the family, my brother made the Zambelli’s look like luminary lighters.  His fireworks display put Matt to shame.  Chad’s rocketed 50 feet in the air and exploded like the ones you see on the National Mall in DC, although only one at a time.

As I watched him hover around the small round launcher, I couldn’t help but think what might happen if a slight breeze blew the paper towel type holder on its side.  Perhaps I’d be lucky and get out with only singed eyebrows.  I could jump behind the neighbor’s car – nah, probably has a full tank of gas.  How many yards is it to the sound?  Not sure I could make it with three kids in tow.  Rockets are fast.

Fortunately for us, the launcher died after the third explosion.  But that wasn’t all.  Now Grandpa stepped in with the sparklers.  Finally, something my speed – a small handheld stick of fire.

Dang it.  I’d forgotten how much they sting when the little flame shoots off and lands on your forearm.  I should have brought the aloe.

I guess we were lucky.  I was reading reuters.com and saw the following headline:  Fireworks Accident Claims Man’s Testicle

Reframe:  Saved money.  Vasectomys cost a lot more than $30.

Leave a comment


  1. Mel Ham

     /  July 18, 2012

    those fireworks have been in my side of the closet since New Year’s. I’m glad they got fired. We went to SC to get those. Chad got glazed over just like he does in Total Wine…the sights in that store. AFter we gout our lifetime supply of gun powder, we stopped and ate sushi…betting most of the folks that dropped change in the TNT store would have called that bait. I understand the giddy thing with Matt too. Chad was right giggly during that adventure. I won’t detail the amount that was spent on that. The law investigated our property during New Year’s. So if you get a call from us on New year’s or fourth of July please take the call …we’re in Jail

  2. Evie Lichti

     /  July 18, 2012

    Never a dull moment at the Tanner’s! Just don’t call the cops . . . they won’t believe the preacher’s kids could cause that much trouble!! But they do need prayer!!

  3. Mom

     /  July 18, 2012

    That is funny. See, you would have had to pay for those spectacular shows if it had not been for Chad and Matt. We did need the aloe. Remember, Stephanie and the sparkler had a run in and almost ruined her birthday celebration. After last year, Hannah didn’t get near them. She copied her cousin, Cam, last year and grabbed the flame on the sparkler, remember, and decided forever more to forgo fireworks.It didn’t faze Cam. Maybe he’s in training for Chad’s job in the family.

  4. Matt

     /  July 18, 2012

    I think Uncle Dash and I need to hang out next 4th of July. You clearly don’t understand what freedom is all about, Danny. 🙂

  5. Too funny! We were way too dry up here this year for fireworks. Didn’t want to set the hay fields on fire! 🙂

  6. Glad you and your family got out of that one alive.

  7. Aunt Susan

     /  July 18, 2012

    Oh I hate I missed that. I will do my best to see it next year, please pass the request on to Matt. This, my dear, is one of your all time best. Do you think Matt would hit costco for new years eve?


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