July 1, 2020

This coming Saturday will be Independence Day in America.  So this is my last post before that special day and I want to share some memories of mine about celebrating that day.  I bet you have special memories of celebrating that day too – all the way back to your childhood.

The title of this post is one of my memories of Independence Day.  I had a good friend who lived in an adjacent school district to the one I lived in.  He was about 9 years old when this event occurred.  He had gotten a bunch of fireworks for the Fourth by picking up pop bottles on side of the road.  You got 2 cents per bottle when you redeemed the bottles back then. He had a lot of fireworks.  And he had one particular firework, his favorite, leftover.

The next day at school he took that firework with him, a cherry bomb.  During recess that day he and one of his buddies observed one of their regular habits. The would go to the restroom to smoke. Yes, at 9 years old.  His buddy said to him, “I dare you to light that cherry bomb and flush it down the commode. He kept on an on to finally convince my friend to light it and flush it.  They had bought a 30-second delay before they exploded. So as soon as they lit it and flushed it, they took off running like crazy to get away from there.

However, when the exited the restroom, they ran right into the janitor.  They just kept running and soon the cherry bomb exploded downstream from the commode and the explosion damaged some cast iron plumbing pipes between the first and second story.  Water started running through the ceiling below.  My friend and his accomplice were caught and taken to the principal’s office.  My friend came from a poor family and his parents did not have money to pay for repairs, so the principle let them work after school and Saturdays helping the janitor to pay for the repairs.

Another punishment was that they each had to get up in front of their classmates and apologize for their stupidity and tell why they did it.  My friend’s answer is the title of this post.  He said, “Well, Joe dared me to flush the cherry bomb down the commode.  But I didn’t want to do it. But when he double-dog dared me to do it I just had to do it, I never could take a double-dog dare.”

That will always be in my memory concerning Independence Day.  Another memory is when I was around 7 years old, my granddaddy was getting ready to go to a little country store about a mile from where we lived.  He and Grandmother would get in the cab of the truck and all six of their grandchildren would ride in the bed of his truck to that store.  When we got to the store, they had some fireworks on display as it was just a few days to the Fourth.  We asked Granddaddy to buy us some fireworks.  He said, “No, they are too dangerous and they remind me of the War all that loud popping. If you kids will wait until the peddler comes by the house Thursday, I’ll let you all pick out a whole case of soda pops from the truck.”  We said, “Okay.”  We loved soda pop, yet rarely ever got any. So that was a special occasion for all of us.

The really precious memories became embedded in my mind forever when I got a little older and my class started studying about the Revolutionary War and our Founding Fathers and how they wrote such long-lasting documents ensuring our American freedoms.

The most impressionable part of all that new knowledge was how that so many men died for our freedom.

So this coming Fourth it will again be a special day of celebration around our house.  Sandra and I have always made this day special. Usually, we would have a big bar-be-que and invite many friends and family.  This year will just be family only.  Although that will be an extra special day.

I close with just one more special memories of this day.  And it happened 24 years ago this Fourth.  Sandra and I were planning a big bar-be-cue and we got a phone call from a former parishioner of ours. He and I were very close friends. At the time he was around 80 years old.  He had remembered me saying that every Fourth Sandra and I had a big bar-be-que. He asked me if we had room for him and his wife to come to celebrate with us.  I told him absolutely. That we looked forward to it.  He would have to drive his old ragged truck about 70 miles to get to our house.  Actually, he ended up coming two years in a row – until he died and I was called to perform his funeral.

After his first visit (and he was the last to leave) he hugged Sandra and me real hard and started crying. He said he was so grateful to have such good friends to celebrate this special day with.  We told him he had a standing invitation to come to all our future bar-be-cues.

If you don’t have such sweet precious memories about Independence Day, I double-dog dare you to get started to make them happen.

God Bless You,
Spencer Plumley

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