George Worthy
George Worthy

Before I begin this column this week, I want to emphasize that my musings are my opinions. Some are of a personal experience and some are based in opinion. Please understand it isn’t always easy. Just imagine catching a sensitive part of your body in a zipper and when you go to pull it off, the pain comes in waves. 

Of course, it isn’t as physically hard as that. As a matter of fact, I truly love to sit down at Lorraine’s computer and scratch out an interesting thing that happens to you or to someone you care about. OK, perhaps it is something that happened to me. After all, who better to describe anything interesting than the person in question?

This week has been a real downer for me. It is tough to think about something good that happened as I sat down at the computer. All I could think of is how a home was lost due to the idiocy of a few Neanderthals that never had a lesson from their parents about how the “Safe and Sane” fireworks actually function. They are filled with black powder and you can’t always tell how powerful they are until it is too late.

When my children were younger, I bought my share of the sparklers and poppers that were sold at the shopping center. I sat with my neighbors and their children and explained to the kids how they can truly lose a finger or eye even with the “Safe and Sane” fireworks. We never let a child light the fuses, as any mistake could be very dangerous.

We, all grown ups, sat there until all the oohs and aahs had been used up. Then it was time to make sure all the magic had been burned into our retinas. With all the other parents that were sitting out front, it was cool watching the different colors and the whistles screaming magic and light as it happened. Then we had the kids pick up the debris, under our supervision, and put them in a barrel, which was then sprayed with water.

This certainly sounds like it would be all you need to do… BUT NO! One night after the show, a couple of the kids put a few used “Safe and Sane” burnt-out sparklers into one of my garbage cans. That was OK. My kids shared in making the mess, so it was their turn to help put away anything that might not be completely depleted. Ah, my thoughts were drifting and I was thinking about the next day and the lettuce needed on the East Coast. I didn’t look closely to see if they were completely put out of any paper or dangerous glowing papers, or fire.

I was a parent that understood how much damage they can inflict. Although I personally believe that any fireworks are dangerous, I have lived too long to think anything else because I have seen, personally, the damage that fireworks can cause. 

On this evening, the fireworks did what they are designed to do. It was the parents, myself included, that did not do what should have been done and that was to make sure everything was safe. This little slip of consciousness very nearly cost me more than I want to talk about.

It was about an hour after we were all in bed when my oldest son came running into my bedroom yelling “the house is on fire.” Like the jolly old man of Christmas, I sprang from my bed and ran to see what was the matter. Sure enough, the garbage can that I had personally checked was smoldering and emitting so much smoke that my neighbor was running over to help.

Now I don’t want to stretch this into a drama or comedy. It was much worst than any of those things that you only hear about. My house could have burnt down!

It is not a problem to say we were certainly brought to our feet and stood there with soot on our cheeks. No problem thinking of a terrible situation that we all felt. It seems that no matter how hard things are, there must have been something that happened that brought tears to everyone who even knew my family. Even though I know we tried to make sure there was no collateral damage. But you know what? It is hard! As I sit here and type, I remember the look on my wife’s face after the kids had been in bed and we were together alone. I don’t want to ever see that look again. 

Should we even go into this week’s horror story? What I remember about the past couple of days is the horror one feels when fire shows up with no invitation. I know most of you have already heard about the terrible fire that destroyed a home and another citizen of Gonzales.

I won’t say I grew up after my fireworks catastrophe. I simply do not buy any fireworks any longer as I have “seen the elephant” as we used to say in Vietnam, and I cannot for the life of me think of anything good to come from shooting off firecrackers inside the city limits of Gonzales.

This past week, we are reminded of the terrible things that careless use of any dangerous paraphernalia. This week we, again, suffered the loss of one of our beloved neighbors to the careless use of explosives. Like most of you know, it cannot be contained once it has a start, and to anyone lighting a fuse to a pyrotechnic, there is no telling where the damage will occur.

I personally hate the fact that anyone blowing off the fireworks have no idea where it will land. Perhaps it is time to examine whether we desire to play a game of roulette with our homes, friends, pets, or whether the noise and danger should be stopped. I cannot imagine what my pets used to feel as the booms and cracks of pyrotechnics exploded in the air. Just think about it. Is the danger worth it?

God Bless.

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Gonzales columnist George Worthy may be reached at [email protected].


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