Sunday, July 5, 2009

When did they add Napalm?

When you're young the Holidays seem eternal, unchanging. Your parents are there, encouraging the traditions, making it seem like they've been passed down though the ages.

I was in my late teens when I learned that our image of Santa Claus was formed in the last hundred years, and the version of Christmas I knew was mostly a post WWII invention. My Mom made huge stockings, and filled a box with more, and it wasn't until much later in life that I learned this was HER tradition more than anyone else.

Anyway, I think that the Fourth of July was a much smaller thing, in some ways, when I was a kid. Maybe a bit more of a community event down at Drake Park. I still remember the big floats, and Burl Ives playing music. But the neighborhood fireworks? A few sprinklers, maybe.

Meanwhile, Halloween was a MUCH bigger deal -- at least for kids. Not so much for adults. Every neighborhood was inundated with little trick and treaters, sometimes -- gasp -- unaccompanied past about six or seven years old. Maybe younger. No fear.

Of course, some of this is colored by my age and by not having kids or grandkids who enjoy these holidays the most. But I'm pretty sure that the 4th of July has become way noisier.

And I'm absolutely positive that the air didn't fill with the smell of gunpowder when I was kid.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

"I'm absolutely positive that the air didn't fill with the smell of gunpowder when I was kid."

I don't know about Bend in particular but across the country there has been a decline in city-affiliated fireworks (e.g., Portland, to name just one example). I think that fireworks are becoming less of a very large public event, and increasingly taking place at home in private in front (or in back) of your house.

More of a "democratization" of fireworks. I think it's because the municipalities and businesses can no longer afford it. Perhaps all the safety aspects cost too much.