Joe Brainard's book I Remember:
I remember sparklers, and how we wouldn't be able to wait until dark to light them.
I remember how much better it was to have sparklers in the full dark, the dazzle of twirling them in circles.
I remember not liking firecrackers. (I still don't)
I remember stories of boys who would put a firecracker in a toad's mouth, so it hung out like the taod was smoking a cigar, and then they'd light it.
I remember how this horrified me, I liked toads so much, their absurd little hands.
I remember that I never actually saw any boys do that to toads.
I remember hearing about people that put firecrackers in a cat's butt, or a string of them tied to a cat's tail.
I remember fireworks.
I remember fireworks at Metro Beach, viewed from the bed of a pickup truck.
I remember fireworks at Shadyside Park.
I remember Fireworks at the riverside, and how the boom would echo against the skyscrapers downtown and I'd feel the explosion like a thud in my stomach.
I remember that the skyscapers downtown seemed very very tall.
I remember they were 12 whole stories.
I remember camping on the fourth, and Uncle Martin crept off into the woods and lit off an M-80 firecracker when everything was quiet, that time when everyone is half-dozing and staring into the campfire, and how we jumped.
I remember the cousin who had been in Vietnam leapt off his chair and landed on his stomach in the dirt.
I remember he was sobbing, or gasping. I remember that he told Uncle Martin he was going to shove an M-8o up Uncle Martin's ass and light it, and how would he like that?
I remember an aunt saying "Vietnam" quietly to Uncle Martin, she was trying to calm him down.
I remember lighting sparklers from a campfire. I remember poking a stick in the fire to make the end glow, and then twirling it like a sparkler after all the sparklers were gone.
I remember potato salad with big chunks of hard-boiled egg. I remember baked beans, how they came from a can but my mom would "doctor" them and bake them in a covered dish.
I remember campfires. And the pop of an ember, like a firecracker but much more sedate.