Friday, July 4, 2008
Happy 4th of July Day!
Growing up, my family had a great ritual every fourth of July. My dad would pile the family into the car and we would drive two hours on a dirt road to the county line where there would be a row of beat-up, rust encrusted, toyota pick-ups, that had "convienently" lost their license plates. Sitting in the beds of these trucks, were our local sketchy illegal fireworks salesmen.
These men were lost souls, rejected from society, and forced to sell their illegal Mexican wares far from the outstretched arms of the law. We would walk along the row of truck beds, inspecting the merchandise as if we were at Wal-Mart...a very VERY scary Wal-Mart. I remember once a guy tried to interest my dad with a box of M-80s, and when he didn't look interested, offered to sell us something with a little more "punch". A Hand Grenade.
These men were modern day pirates...well at least some of them were missing body parts like pirates. There were always about 12 to 13 guys, and there probaly wasn't a full set of teeth between them. Every year, the same guy was always parked on the end of the row. I soon came to realize HE was the reason we came out here every year. We gave him the nickname of "Old Faithful." Not just because we were sure to see him every year like clockwork, but because he looked like he too had been blown up every 8 minutes. He was propped up in a lawn chair in the bed of his truck, knawing on beef jerky with his good tooth. His lazy eye always looked South, like a broken compass, while his other eye looked East, through an old pair of binoculars he would use to watch out for cops. It looked like he had used his fake right arm, to construct his fake left arm . It consisted of extra long cardboard tubes stapled together,wire coat hangers, and salad tongs on the end. His fake right arm was a plastic bloody arm halloween prop with a motion sensor inside it. Every time he moved it, his arm would cackle then wish you a Happy Halloween.
My dad would make us stand there and stare at Old Faithful, until he noticed we weren't buying anything, then Old Faithful would start cussing our family out in the jibberish language he spoke. That's when we knew it was time to leave. We would walk along the dirt path back to the car, empty handed. Then my dad would turn to us, look us in the eye, and sternly state..."THAT is why you don't buy fireworks."