In the summer of 2012, my mother and I decided to go up north to Medford, Wisconsin. This weekend it was a special day! The Fourth of July! All I was worried about was fireworks. I love fire my parents always called me a pyro as a little kid. Son we packed up all our stuff for the weekend and headed out for the long car ride ahead of us. The first thing I saw when we pulled up was a huge landscape filled with trees and small, leafy brush everywhere! In the middle of it was a gigantic pond, I guess you could call it a lake. It was this weekend that I added multiple things to my experiences. Boating, lighting off fireworks, and getting lost in the woods changed my perspective a little bit.
Since I was now 17, my mom’s friends Jim allowed me to drive the boat that was parked on the lake, but he had to take a practice run first, so he could teach me some of the controls.
“First thing is first,” Jim said, “you have to make sure the anchor is up and that there is gas in it.”
“Alright”, I said.
“Next you need to put the boat in reverse by using the throttle.”
As I did what Jim had told me, all of a sudden a large mouth bass jumped in the boat! I yelled, not going to lie it startled me. Jim just laughed. I finally backed out enough so the throttle could be thrusted forward. It was all a game from here on, once my mom cooked dinner on the campfire stove, Jim took control of the boat and parked it along the bank of the lake. We both ran back to the campsite for some brats and potatoes.
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It was pretty late out after dinner, so I decided to go to bed knowing that tomorrow would be a long day, but I couldn’t fall asleep. All I could think about was that tomorrow was the Fourth of July! Adrenaline was running through me, but just enough to keep me awake. The thoughts of how great tomorrow would be swirled around in my head while I slept.
I woke up early the next morning to bacon being cooked over the fire, on a pan of course! The smell of bacon in the morning means, today is going to be a great day. Jim also had asked at breakfast if I wanted to help him get all the fireworks ready for tonight. Not only that but I could help him and his friend light off fireworks! Jim and his friend Steve both have their Pyro-Technicians license so they can buy fireworks directly from china at more than half the cost of what you can get them in the United States for. They kept all the fireworks in a pole barn that was nearby.
As the day rolled on, Jim and I began to tape off the area so all the little kids wouldn’t go in the area with all the dangerous equipment.
Jim said, “Shane, go fill up these watering cans just in case there is a fire.”
While going to fill up these huge watering cans my dog Zona jumped on into the lake and got me wet. She is a Black Lab and Blue Heeler, full of energy. Anyways after I got the watering cans filled and brought them back, Jim and Steve asked me to unwrap all of the mortar fireworks. The mortars are the big circle firework explosions. All different kind of colors and array of displays. I mean we had $15,000 dollars’ worth of fireworks from china so it took me about 20 minutes to unwrap them all.
“Then you need to get the electric tape and help tape 50 mortars together for the finale,” Jim said.
I replied, “Alright, then what do you want me to do?”
“Go find the torch that we need to light the fireworks tonight, it should be in the garage way up front by the house.”
“Alright,” I said.
Throughout the rest of the day Jim had me doing little things to help get ready for tonight. I was so happy I couldn’t even hold in my excitement. It was lunch time and still all I could think about was all of the fireworks I get to light of tonight. As night approached, and we were almost ready to start the fireworks, my mom came and took some pictures of all the fireworks we had set up. Finally it was time, fireworks!
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As the night sky turned black, we slowly started lighting off some small fireworks while we continued to set up what would be lit up next. We had so many that the whole show lasted an hour and a half. This is one of the longest fireworks shows I have seen today.
Jim told me, “Watch out for all the hot ashes and sparks that fly down by you once we light them off.”
“Alright I’ll watch out” I replied.
As soon as I replied, multiple mortars were starting to be light and a beautiful array of colors started filling the pitch black sky. Yellow, blue, green, red, white, tons of different affects spiraling into the air. One right after another, as every mortar exploded out of the tube there would be an explosion in your chest from the recoil. Running back and forth filling each of the 50 tubes, one of the mortars launched and hit a tree and landed right next to me, Jim, and Steve. As it exploded we all dropped to the floor. With ashes burning through our clothes we continued the show for all the rest of the campers. Totaling everyone there was about 200 people that were camping with us that weekend. To end of the show we put a metal boat in the middle of the lake and remote detonated it for the finale. Everyone began to applaud us as the fireworks ended. The explosions were so load that I couldn’t hear out of my ears, there was a constant high pitched noise. I went to bed fairly soon afterward.
I woke up early to take Zona for a walk around the lake, through the woods. This was our last day here so it was time to clean up the campground. My mom decided to clean out the tent as I took Zona. As we were walking around the lake we noticed cows and horses, not realizing that they free-roamed the 100 acres that we were on so my dog chased a couple of cows, I followed her and we ended up getting lost. While trying to figure our way back we came across a dead pig carcass, it reeked of straight death. One of the worst scents I’ve ever smelled.
Throughout this camping trip multiple things have changed my perspective just because of the experience I gained from driving the boat, lighting off fireworks, and getting lost in the woods. From this experience I’ve become more careful with the tasks I have to do now. Not only was this a learning experience but it was also a great bonding time with my mom and my dog.
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