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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


The year was circa 1955 and I seem to remember that it was summertime. My younger brother and I had early morning paper routes in Augusta, Georgia in areas that adjoined each other. Neither of us were kids that were given to very much mischief, especially at night, since we arose at 4am every morning to attend to our routes.

Augusta is on the banks of the Savannah River and that body of water is the boundary between Georgia and South Carolina. Fireworks were illegal in one state and not in the other, we felt unfortunate to be living in the one in which they couldn’t be purchased. Being readily available in our neighbor state, it was not at all unusual for carloads of folks to cross the river and purchase the explosive devices, especially around any holiday and come back to Georgia to set them off on the sly.

This illegal practice was mostly tolerated by the local constabulary unless it became extreme or someone was injured. On occasion my brother and I would hitch a ride with an older co-conspirator and purchase some minor fireworks, mostly the small firecrackers that wouldn’t blow off fingers if held too long. This occasion had happened again and I had purchased many of the smaller poppers but had bought one very large device for a special event – unknown at the time.

This item was made up of three cardboard tubes mounted on a small wooden base. The tubes were about four inches long and had a fuse to the first, another fuse went from the first to the second and one from there to the third – this caused them to ignite a minute or so apart. Each tube had a powder charge which propelled another exploding container high into the air like a small cannon before it concluded in a loud boom.

The plan that formed in my mind was to take this device along with me when I left the house (about 4:15am) one morning and light it off in front of the house of a friend of mine about a half-block away. This plan was to be great fun and word would get around that I was really bold and brave to do such a stunt – neither of these character traits were things in which I was particularly strong.

The chosen morning finally arrived and my brother and I set off to the place where we picked up our papers. I sent him on a little ahead since I was older and faster on the bike. When he was safely away, I stopped, set the fireworks device in the middle of the dark road in front of my friend’s house and lit the fuse. My running leap on the bike and furious peddling caused me to be nearly to the next corner before the first tube shot its boomer into the air.

The joy of my prank suddenly left me when this first explosion happened and adrenalin pulsed through every muscle, propelling the bike ever faster. The second boom brought great fear and the third brought the dread of impending doom. It had somehow never occurred to me that this device would be that loud. Making my younger brother promise to never utter a word about this dumb adventure, we just continued our routes as if nothing had happened.

The days rocked on into weeks and nothing was ever said about the disturbing neighborhood noises and my brother and I were content to let it just fade from everyone’s memories without ever knowing the perpetrators thereof. Years later I happened on this friend and when discussing the old days, I mentioned the explosion adventure and he didn’t even remember it. The time I had spent worrying about getting caught and nobody remembered!

This reminds of other long ago wrong doings in my life that I didn’t want anyone to know about either. These transgressions were of a spiritual nature and it seemed that I had no way to make them right until I once again encountered the God of my youth. Upon my confession, He forgave every wrong I had committed and if I err even today the forgiveness is still there if I only ask – this will work for any and all that desire to be forgiven. ec


Blogger adannells said...

Fireworks are so much fun! On 4th of July we usually get a big group of people together and shoot off fireworks. One year we went to a near by Indain reservation and got some really big ones. While we were on the reservatio a few M-80's were shot off. That was probably one of the loadest booms I had ever heard.

What a joy it is to know that all our sins are washed away by Christ's blood. And even when we do sin He is faithful to forgive us!

2/08/2006 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

At the finish of that joke there was .......................
Boom, boom, boom, instead of the normal Boom, boom.

2/08/2006 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

adannells - It took years to want to admit to my fireworks sin. Today I keep things current between the Lord and I.

peter - Yes, and much louder than I had thought possible. ec

2/08/2006 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger Bonita said...

One of the graces of maturity is a well-formed conscience, rooted in compassion and discipline. Congratulations, MrEddie, yours is shaped quite nicely.

I've never purchased fireworks, but I love to see them at night at Tacoma's 4th of July celebration. It is very impressive.

2/08/2006 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

We've all had those experiences--and the fear that someone will "catch us." Maybe that's why Bonhoeffer wrote: "The Christian brother knows when I come to him: here is a sinner like myself, a godless man who wants to confess and yearns for God's forgiveness."

2/08/2006 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

bonita - Thanks - it was God that shaped it. Fireworks displays are a treat for the eyes and mind, a blessing that God allows us to experience.

SSN - Without God's forgiveness, we really have nothing at all. ec

2/08/2006 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger Merle said...

Mr Eddie ~~ So the early rising
started as a paper boy. So that is how you see the sunrise.
I am like Peter late to bed and
what is a sunrise. Thanks for your words at Herons Nest.

2/09/2006 07:01:00 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Memory is a weird thing. What seems so prominent to one person is not even registered by another.

2/09/2006 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

merle - The early rising only happens occasionally nowadays, I usually don't even hear the crack of dawn. :)

AC - So true, that must be the reason we need so many witnesses at a trial. :) We are still at the daughter's place in Tennessee and I have been reading your posts but for some reason cannot comment from her computer. ec

2/09/2006 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger grannyfiddler said...

in the dead of winter, dawn cracks at somewhere around 10:30 in these parts. were lightening up 8:30-ish these days, on our way to the equinox.

my eldest brother, in his teen years, was a smoker. his very dear friend, David, was not, and, being a man far ahead of his time, was concerned for bro's health. David, to the glee of we younger siblings, snuck a ladyfinger firecracker into one of bro's cigs early one Saturday morning, as the bro slept in, in the hopes of educating bro on the hazards of smoking. sadly, our grandad arrived at about the time bro awoke, and had forgotten his cigs. you guessed it. bro was generous, grandad got the loaded one, and there was nearly a murder in the house. smoking certainly WAS hazardous to his health! David was an honourable boy, though, and confessed to grandad the minute he heard of the results of his intrigue.

2/09/2006 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger Using up the words.... said...

Sweet memories.... rascal behaviour....

Forgiveness...... such grace.

2/09/2006 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

grannyfiddler - All sorts of education was available to us as youngsters - to your brothers as well. :)

UUTW - God's grace and forgiveness makes all the difference. ec

2/09/2006 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Morpheus said...

Ahh, the memories. Fireworks were illegal in my state too. But, my Dad would still supervise me and my friends having fireworks wars. One side would shoot bottle rockets and whistlers off the back porch into the cornfield where my other friends were firing back at us. We would use roman candles to illumine the area.

We all do stupid, sometimes mean, sometimes callous things. Thank God for his love. Nice post, ec.

2/10/2006 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

morpheus - I'm so glad that God doesn't love like I love - He is helping me to love more every day. Good to hear from you. ec

2/10/2006 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger The MacBean Gene said...

This world would be such a better place if everyone realized the unmerited forgivness of God. My Grandfather, a minister, once wrote "this world is no friend to grace". How right he was.

2/11/2006 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

TMG - Without God's unmerited favor, I would probably be in a very hot place right now. ec

2/11/2006 03:29:00 PM  

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