A 4TH OF JULY TO REMEMBER
By: Erin Broussard
I guess I must’ve been 8 or 9 years old on this particular 4th of July.
My aunt and uncle were having a party like they usually did this time of year. My cousins, siblings and I played all afternoon and into the evening. Everyone had a wonderful time eating BBQ and drinking beer. The men gathered all of the fireworks together in a pile on a table like they always did, telling jokes and deciding which ones to shoot off first. My aunt and uncle lived on a big wooded piece of property but had neighbors, unlike most people who lived on a lot of land in the country. They had just bought a brand new blue minivan that was parked in the driveway. They also had just bought a brand new riding lawnmower. As the evening went on I kept eyeing the lawnmower and really wanted to drive it. So, I asked if I could and to my surprise was granted permission.
“Stay in the first gear and don’t put the blade down”, my uncle said.
He cranked it up, showed me a couple of things and off I went! I rode all around the front and side yards since the fireworks were about to happen in the backyard. I’d pretend I was driving a bus and I’d stop and pick up my brother or cousin at the “station” and take them for a ride.
The fireworks started but I was having too much fun to park the lawnmower just yet so I kept on. The fireworks exploded in the sky. Left and right and up and down. It was awesome!
A little bit later I heard everyone yelling. I see my dad running by with a bucket of water and clearing the wooden fence like a high jumper in the Olympics! I can’t see what is going on. Within minutes I start to smell smoke and can see licks of flames appearing in the distance over the roof of the house. At that moment I know I need to park the lawnmower and go see what is going on. But, I have no idea how to stop the lawnmower. Either my uncle didn’t show me or I was too excited to listen before.
I start to panic. Now I see more people running with buckets of water and hoses. I absolutely don’t know how to stop the lawnmower. I know how to brake but not turn it off. So, what do I do? I RAM IT INTO THE SIDE OF THEIR BRAND NEW MINIVAN. Yep, I figured that would stop it and well, it did. The motor is still running but I get off to see what all the commotion is all about.
Low and behold the friggin’ forest is on fire! One of the fireworks they shot caught the woods on fire!! The Fire Department pulled up to handle the mess. While they were putting out the fire, I found my grandma and showed her the disaster I had created.
“JESUS CHRIST IN HEAVEN!” she yells!
She turns off the motor, puts it in neutral and is speechless. Needless to say, the party was over and I didn’t even get in trouble for crashing the mower and seriously denting the new van. We laugh about it to this day.