Great Balls of Fire

Great Balls of Fire - July 5, 2015

State Representative David Perryman

Not long after my parents had moved to a new farm on the highway and closer to town, our family found ourselves without a dog. It soon became obvious that living along a “beaten trail” provided ample opportunity for canine acquisition. Sort of like tramps, bums and hobos that migrated along a railroad track, Dogs would just show up. Most would move along, but Sam stayed for awhile.

Sam had long auburn hair. His pedigree was forever a mystery, but we called him a retriever. He probably would have made some family a good pet, but we weren’t yet over Bozo, our long time dog.  It was sort of like when your preacher leaves and no one else measures up. Anyway, Sam was there when the Fourth of July came around in 1972.

It was the time of muscle cars and the Ironside television show. NBC had reruns of Bonanza under the name Ponderosa and bottle rockets, powerful M-80’s and three foot long Roman candles were still legal.

As dusk approached, the grill’s charcoal embers were fading away and the manual crank ice cream churn had been emptied of both frozen dessert and salt water brine. Kids and firebugs were in high anticipation as fireworks were the order of the evening. Mosquito spray had been applied and everyone moved slowly into a large semicircle. Some sat in chairs, some on quilts on the ground and others sat on tailgates or leaned against cars.

I was standing next to the ’51 Chevy that I drove. Bottle rockets were launched waiting on it to get dark enough for the aerial show. After a couple more rockets, someone pulled an 18 ball roman candle from the fireworks box. The fuse was lit and we heard that unique poof as a red ball of fire erupted from the tube.

Just as the second fire ball shot forth, a flash of auburn hair lunged from beneath a pickup. We stared in disbelief as Sam grabbed the tube in his mouth and things went from bad to worse. He began running in circles with the Roman candle spewing fireballs in all directions. Mothers protected babies, but everyone else was on their own. Some dove behind cars, others used chairs as shields, most pasted their bodies to the ground as fire ball after fire ball shot forth from the tube that Sam held firmly in his teeth.

No one had an accurate count of the shots and we made ourselves smaller each time another fireball whizzed by our head. When the final ball shot forth, we continued to lay motionless for a full ten count. Then, as quickly as it began, Sam dropped the tube and trotted over to the corner of the yard.

Allowing fear and emotion to control our actions endangers those around us. Yet, there is no shortage of radio and television outlets or social media “friends” that exist simply to instill anxiety, fear and trepidation.  They play upon our base instincts. Strive to be informed. Know the truth and the truth will set you free from the fears that paralyze you.

We hope that you had a safe and enjoyable Independence Day. Questions and comments are invited at 405-557-7401 or