Cheapy cheapy bang bang

By Tiber

Dad said we shouldn’t have any fireworks on the grounds this year, “for safety reasons.” It’s always a sure bet that when Dad says he’s concerned about our safety, what he really means is that he doesn’t want to pay for something. Either way, he insisted we could have just as much fun having a low-tech 4th of July.

The audience consisted of Mom, Duncan and Honor’s 10 year-old triplets, Honor, Jasper the renter and even the rarely-seen-out-of-her-room Aunt April, who, wisely, sat far away from Jasper since, as we all remember, she mistook him for an intruder the night he arrived and attacked him with a pitchfork. Even so, Jasper kept eyeing her, probably worrying that she still might be carrying a smaller, fold-up version of a pitchfork in one of her pockets.

So our celebration began and we had some John Phillip Sousa music which went off fine. Dad, Vanessa, Duncan and Iris Nell then proceeded to do patriotic readings and those were audience-pleasers too.

But then, we got to the fireworks substitutions, which consisted of Dad covering a bunch of flashlights with different colors of cling wrap and having us run really fast, in and out of the woods, with them. At the same time, Mrs. Brunty, the housekeeper, and all of the maids, beat on pots and pans and shook large pieces of foil for the “booming” sound effects. I think, truthfully, at this point, our efforts were not so much “low tech” as “subterranean.”

Kru and Iris Nell soon collided and Kru hit a tree and chipped a tooth. I’m always reminded of Mom going to a parent/teacher meeting for our youngest sister, Erin. She earnestly asked if there was any way for the school not to teach Erin anything about genetics, in the hope that at least one her children wouldn’t live in fear that she’d turn out like the rest of us.

Time arrived for our finale where Brunty, the butler, only had to walk out as the Statue of Liberty, holding aloft a sparkler. Unfortunately, since it was dark, he first fell into the lily pond.

His sparkler was doused so he grabbed the first wooden thing he saw, in hopes of lighting that as the torch instead. Unfortunately, when Brunty came staggering out, with his drenched clothing clinging to his skin and lily pads plastered onto his skull, he looked less like The Statue of Liberty and more like the Swamp Thing, brandishing a croquet mallet.

The triplets, after a lifetime of terrifying everyone else remotely in their orbit, actually got scared themselves and ran!

But maybe this is a way for them to learn empathy.

Oh, who am I kidding? I must still be blinded by the mind-blowing spectacle of all of those flashlights, so excitingly rolled up in Saran Wrap.

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