We all have stories about some of the dumb things we've done on the fourth of July. We just do. Anything from a small fire cracker incident to may be the time when uncle Ernie blew his finger off with an "illegal" firework.

As a youngster fire works were legal to buy, possess, have and shoot off even in your own back yard. So with five brothers growing up together shooting off fireworks was something to look forward to. We would work summer jobs saving up every penny to buy fireworks. And our mom would drive us out to a stand (usually on CY) and one by one we'd barder our ass's off to get as much as we could. Literally bags full. We drove our mother nuts with six boys in the house, testosterone driven, with literally bags of fireworks under our beds waiting for the fourth. And as 5:30 am we were out there going at it. Till mom shut it down for a while. Drove the neighbors nuts.

My father was a veteran and took the fourth of July seriously. He and my mother would plan a camp out for weeks. Not easy taking eleven kids and two dogs on a two day camping excursion over the fourth of July weekend without getting at least one kid killed. We'd go out by the Speas Fish Hatchery (cause my dad and Jimmy Speas were roommates in college) and spend a few days. Eat, camp, swim in the river, set off a few fireworks, and have the time of our lives. Best time of the summer. Memories that will never die.

Dummest thing I ever did on the fourth was when my brother David was able to get four gross of M-80's. A quarter stick of dynamite. It was like hitting the mother load of fireworks. I can remember sitting in the basement with my five other brothers staring at those boxes of M-80's thinking "now it's time to get serious after all these years of sparklers."

For a few days law enforcement couldn't quite catch up with us. Blowing up small stuff. Making man hole covers streak a foot in the air. Blowing off bumper's of cars. And a mail box or two. We must have blown up the Girl Scout House at least three times. But the ultimate was when we blew up our neighbor's lawn. Literally. We weren't smart enough to go "outside" the neighborhood. No we went right next door.

You see they had a decorative light in the middle of their lawn. We thought it was electric, however it was a gas light in the middle of their lawn, and it called to us one night after the fourth. We had moved up from mail boxes and man hole covers and simple cans. After much discussion and presentation of logistics, we drew straws and the "winner" got to drop two M-80's down the top of the light. As always. I won the straw poll.The M-80's not only had the desired effect, blowing the light apparatus to bits, but it also ignited the natural gas coming up through the pole that used to be a light fixture. It looked like a refinery flaring it's natural gas surplus. It lit up the yard, the neighbor's yard, our yard, and had the most god awful screetching noise as the gas ignited out of what used to be a tall light fixture in the middle of our neighbor's yard. The whole front yard was one bright flare.

Thanks to a serious discussion with law enforcement. Long hours of work to replace the light fixture, and some more serious discussions with our father and his fraternity paddle that hung on the basement wall the experience is one we talk about and laugh about. I know Bill Shutts is watching down on us and laughing, while he celebrates another Fourth of July.

So avoid stupid decisions.Fireworks are illegal.  Don't...Don't drink and drive on the fourth. Respect those around you. And celebrate responsibly. See you up at the Events Center.