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Column: Maybe its best the bird pooped where it did

One of my first memories took place on the 4th of July.

While the memory has always been vague and fades increasingly with time, it still has quite an impact. I cannot remember my age, but I couldn’t have been older than four. I remember being with my dad’s side of the family, and we had all gone a few miles out of town to let off fireworks.

From what I can remember, we had purchased a ton of fireworks. We had plenty of things like sparklers to entertain the younger kids, and the adults had bought plenty of fun for them too. Early in the evening, someone let off a firework, quickly putting a damper on the festivities. The firework shot straight into the bag with the rest of the fireworks. I can remember people yelling and screaming. Then I remember us all running.

I can still see the shock on the faces of the adults and someone getting yelled at for where they set the bag of fireworks. I don’t remember anything after this point, but I’m sure it was talked about for years.

As long as I remember, my hometown had a grand fireworks display. The display occurred at the municipal golf course north of town, and thousands would make the short drive to park and enjoy the fireworks. It is still astonishing to think about how many people attended, and finding parking could be a nightmare. Some people would camp out all day to get the prime real estate. If you had not seen someone for quite a while, you probably would have run into them before the display.

One year while working at the golf course, I saw them setting up. I could not believe how much went into a huge fireworks display. It was kind of frightening to see the setup.

Growing up, there was always some gathering before we loaded up to go out north of town. I remember one year of planning to see the fireworks with my mom and stepdad after a first date.

Looking back, I’m not sure if it was an official first date, but it was the first time hanging out after a period of talking on the phone. I was already nervous and then learned that we would be joining a group of people for a trip to the horse races in the neighboring town of Evanston. During the entire trip to the races, the girl I was with talked non-stop about her ex-boyfriend. I finally had to make friends quickly with these new people because I did not want to hear about the ex anymore.

Shortly after arriving at the races, a seagull pooped on her head, and I could not stop laughing. It was probably an awful thing to do, but I figured that was some good karma for all the talk about the ex.

We made it back into town, ate with my parents, and headed out near the golf course. A local radio station played music to accompany the display, and the girl would not stop talking about how every song reminded her of her past relationship. When the show was over, I told her that she should probably just call her ex-boyfriend and try to reconnect and had her drop me off at the bar.

Since moving to Montana, I can remember the kids having so much fun when we would buy them fireworks, and, on one occasion, our neighbor started a fire in the vacant lot between us.

When I lived in Butte, my mom and stepdad came to visit, and we had planned to watch what I would later find out was an amazing fireworks display. Too bad we didn’t realize it takes place on July 3. We were very confused sitting on the front lawn for about an hour waiting for the show to start.

A few years ago, I reconnected with friends from Wyoming who now live in Helena. It was a fantastic day, and I hope we can go back there to do the same. Reconnecting with friends is always great, and doing it on the 4th of July made it even better.

With no kids at the house this summer, if we stay in town, I will probably be in bed by 9 p.m. That’s probably not a good idea seeing some of our neighbors like to light off fireworks till about 2 a.m.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July, and watch out for seagulls.