July 3rd...”DID YOU EVER GET A GIANT BANG OUT OF USING FIREWORKS THE WRONG WAY, AS A CHILD ON THE FARM?”
KAAAHHHBOOOOM!!!!!…..was the last sound that my little boy ears heard as I entered into the realm of temporary, but significant deafness. In just a split second, I went from being able to hear the slightest chirp of a bird, to hearing nothing….AT ALL!!! Besides the siren-like ringing in my ears, everything around me was now deeply muffled; as if two giant pillows had been glued to each side of my head and I was trying to filter voices and sound through the stuffing of those imaginary pillows. What caused this explosive mayhem?? Well, I’ll tell ya.
Since I really LOVED all the cowboy shows on our old black & white television, I just HAD to have my very own cap gun, six-shooter pistol for my playtimes. Ammunition for my mini-Western adventures was in the form of roll caps that we loaded onto a peg inside the pistol.
The caps were little dots of gun powder on a paper tape. Each time you pulled the gun trigger, the mechanism inside would pull the paper tape up against the strike plate of the gun and the hammer would clobber the dot of gunpowder making a POP sound. The toys were also known as pop guns. For a time there, in my young days, the pop gun sound was alright to play with, but, after awhile, I just had to have more “BANG for my buck”, so to speak.
In my itty bitty little boy conniving mind, I gave some thought to a new paradigm shift. “Hmmmm, what if I double or triple the dots of gun powder and then stuff them into the firing hammer of my cap gun?” The resulting decibel blast from that experiment was better, but not enough to satisfy my longing for even MORE noise. “Aaahaaaaa!!! What if I take three whole ROLLS of caps and, since that many wouldn’t fit into my cap gun, I’ll just set them on some flat iron and bludgeon that wad of gun powder with my dad’s long handled sledge hammer??!!!”
Now, our beloved mother, Clarice, always used to tell us kids, from her wisdom of life, “Too much of a good thing is NOT good”!!! I would’ve been really smart, that day, to have heeded her sage advice, but little boy logic won out and I decided to carry out my explosive idea. Near our father’s work shop, there was a large, metal anvil outdoors with a good-sized flat surface built into its design. I placed those three whole rolls of caps on that flat surface and backed off as I picked up the long-handled, heavy sledge hammer that belonged to my dad. Once committed to this decision, I used all my little boy muscles and lifted that sledge hammer high above my head. With all of my mini-might, I flung that sledge hammer down with a WHAM!!!! The impact of that blow caused all those hundreds of little dots of gunpowder to explode in unison in what was a resultant, enormous KAAAHHPOWWWW!!!!!
What I thought would be fun, ended up being almost a tragedy in the potentially permanent loss of my hearing. I praise the Lord that He allowed my hearing to begin returning in about 10 minutes, or so. Needless to say, when it came to fireworks that day, there was a painful lesson to be learned by this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.