When I was younger and living in New Jersey we used to put all our money together in the weeks leading up to the 4th of July and buy fireworks from some small shop in New York City.
The shop was in Little Italy and you would drive up to it, one person got out and placed the order and they told you to pull your car into the alley and they would load you up and you would be on your way.
It was all completely illegal and very strange to actual do the transaction but you would leave with enough explosives, umm I mean fireworks to have your own full show.
One of the boxes we would get would be a gross (144) of quarter sticks of dynamite. Basically as the name implies a quarter of a stick of dynamite. These packed much more than an m80 or a blockbuster, but in our minds they were still safe enough to hold in your hand and throw out into the backyard of whoever' house you were celebrating at.
Every once in a while we would get bigger ones, half sticks or even the professional grade 10 inch salutes, you know the ones that would create the big blossom of colors in the sky. We had to take an old metal pipe and place them at the bottom with a long fuse. You definitely did not want to be close when they ignited but inevitably fueled by alcohol someone always got a bit too close and ended up without an eyebrow at the end of the night.
Thinking back it always amazes me that no one was seriously hurt.
We had a few mishaps, like the time the roman candle that shot m80s instead of colored balls blew up when a guy was holding it and he broke a rib.
Or the time when the half stick that we put into the watermelon went off on a delayed fuse and covered the person that was trying to relight the fuse in the pieces of watermelon and seeds.
Of course there was the time when we got drunk and went through almost half the gross of quarter sticks in my friends backyard and when his mom came home the next day noticed 70 still smoking craters left over from the previous night.
Watching my friend trying to explain that the dog dug all those wholes was hilarious.
If we only had camera phones back then. I would assure you that the videos would have been amazing.
The best was the day that we all were drinking and waiting for one of our friends to return from the trip to NY. Upon arrival we decided to start the festivities, even though it was only the 15th of June. Most of the fireworks were in boxes or bags and placed along the fenceline of my friends properties where we thought it would be safe.
Well an errant bottle rocket landed in one of the bags and lit it on fire. We all noticed it and took of running back into the house. Being the smart people we were, we sat there in room with the sliding glass door to the outside with our faces plastered against the glass. The first few explosions were nothing spectacular but as all the bags caught fire it was like being in a war zone. Bottle rockets, roman candles, m80s, quarter sticks, salutes all going off at the same time with debris bouncing off the glass door. Each time we would laugh and fall back and then get right back against the glass to continue watching.
When the show finally was over, the police were there to see what was going on. They came to confiscate our fireworks but when we showed them the smoking mess left in the backyard they just laughed at us and told us that we were lucky no one was hurt. There was nothing left to confiscate, over a thousand dollars of illegal fireworks went off in less than 30 minutes. Broke but still laughing I will always remember that day.
Happy 4th of July everyone! Have a safe and wonderful weekend.