Tell a Fourth of July Story

In honor of yesterday’s Crappy House Day I’d like to share a story from the house mentioned in the post.

Tell a Fourth of July Story

Between the years 1983 and 1987 I lived in a house where people blew things up a lot more than most other households. There were always a lot of people over at our place drinking and this regularly led to things being lit on fire and then things exploding.

There was one guest who took part in the drinking but never the fire or fireworks; when things got too rowdy he would come find me downstairs and we’d discuss baseball, books I was reading and school. Unlike the rest of the regular house guests he was quiet to the point of near silence, like Boo Radley with a drinking problem.  My mother told me that I was the only person he said more than two word to since he came back from Vietnam. At that age I knew that there had been a war in Vietnam and I knew he had served in it but I didn’t know that he came back changed because this was the only way I knew him. While others remembered a wild and fearless teenager I only knew the grown man who didn’t like to talk much and hated the Fourth of July.

When Independence Day turned to night he’d find his way downstairs to my room where it was quiet and we’d play board games and watch TV while everyone else attempted to blow up the neighborhood.  When the noise was too much he’d put his head down and when his beer ran out I’d run to the cooler to get another (and sometimes one for myself). The next morning I’d find him outside sifting through piles of spent fireworks he had collected He said he was making sure there was no live explosives left in the field. I didn’t know what this meant but he told me I wasn’t trained for this and I should stay inside until he gave the all clear. I didn’t ask questions, he was my friend.

P.S. Upon telling this to someone they remarked: “So the most responsible guy you knew as a kid was a Vietnam vet with a post traumatic stress disorder?” I never said most responsible, but he was the least dangerous.



Filed under Family

13 responses to “Tell a Fourth of July Story

  1. We’d always pick up illegal fireworks across the border when we were driving back from Florida for my dad & our neighbor Mr B to set off. They always told us gaggle of kids to say that it was “a bunch of crazy teenagers” if the cops came.

    I would also tap dance with mrs boyle at the block party. However, I have absolutely no recollection of why this was.

  2. Damn. This story just makes me sad.

  3. betheboy

    Annika – sorry to make you sad. If it makes you feel better he was later helped a great deal by counseling.

  4. Lulu

    My ‘best’ 4th of July story involves my dad encouraging some half-dressed girl showing nipple to dance and take her clothes off in the back of a pick-up truck.

    I was maybe six. And I still wonder why my fun, yet extremely classy mom didn’t leave him there with that truck-dancing girl that night.

  5. betheboy

    Lulu – That’s the best 4th story I’ve heard so far.

  6. Lulu

    I forgot to mention that she was wearing a flag bikini and purple cowboy boots.

    My competition is slim right now, I know there must be someone out there who has a 4th story involving monkeys, Corona and road rash.

  7. Joseph J. Finn

    An interesting companion piece to this at the Chicago Tribune today:,0,7870442.story

  8. betheboy

    Thanks Joseph, I hadn’t seen that before.

  9. melissa

    I don’t have any good 4th of July stories. Just the mundane, burning my fingers on sparklers type of stories. I’m glad he got counseling, that story made me kind of sad, too.

  10. Lulu

    @ChiaLynn- That made my whole day. AWESOME.

  11. i was double dating with a drug dealer that used to date my sister. he had a new girlfriend that was previously in a gang, with a teardrop tat on her face to prove it. (yeah, i know that doesn’t prove anything.)

    we were all pretty wasted, the drug dealer was driving and i was with my pot head boyfriend in the back seat.

    tear drop girl decided to jump out of the vehicle at a very large intersection and proceed to run across the street. for some completely stupid reason, i followed her thinking i would assist her stupid ass. at the middle part (the concrete things), i caught up to her and she proceeded to punch me right in the face.

    it caught me off guard but i was quick to decide that she really wasn’t worth it.

  12. aliastaken

    I lost my virginity on the 4th of July to the guy who bought the keg for the party at my house. It wasn’t as good as the grand finale.

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