It's almost the 4th of July, the so called centerpiece of summer. I remember as a kid, my Uncle Chuck would call my father every 4th of July and say "Have a 5th for the 4th"... as in liquor. My Dad didnt drink, ever. Never had a drop his whole life. Saw what it did to people. I'm not sure if Chuck remembered this. Funny the things you remember.
I have very fond memories of the 4th. Growing up in Dover, Massachusetts, our town was so small that we had no fireworks display. We went instead to the neighboring town of Walpole (home to Massachusetts' Cedar Junction Maximum Security Prison) where interestingly enough they had a spectacular display. Walpole was, and is a proud blue collar working town. The fireworks would start at 10pm. As a kid, it seemed an eternity to wait. There were hot dog vendors, ice cream trucks, people selling flags and sparklers.
I remember a flat bed truck which was pulled into position and WW1 and WW2 Vets played marches as a full piece orchestra band. I wonder how many of those guys are still with us today. Not many. I am grateful to have experienced my piece of Norman Rockwell Americana. It was perfect.
In later years I saw the fireworks display in Boston, and in New York City as well. Neither of them could hold a roman candle to Walpole.