Remember kids; don’t try anything you read here. You see, back when I was a kid, we used to do some really stupid stuff with fireworks. I know, that’s hard to believe, me bein’ the upstandin’ citizen I am and all, but it’s true. Well, sort of.

Now, every kid looks forward to Christmas, but for me New Years and the Fourth of July were just as excitin’ because of the fireworks. Most every kid back then was the same way.

Well, at least the boys were. Girls couldn’t care less. Maybe not every girl, but I know my wife Janet would fall into that category. Oh, she likes to watch them, but I’m talkin’ about settin’ off fireworks.

Why, if Janet and I had kept separate diaries about New Years back when we were kids, it probably would have been somethin’ like this.

Dear Diary, I’m so excited because today is New Years Eve and I get to stay up until midnight. Janet

Dear Diary, Whoopee! New Years Eve! Man, I can’t wait ‘til tonight. I’m gonna blow somethin’ away. Rusty

Dear Diary, All of my friends are coming over and I’m going to wear my new furry earmuffs and furry hand muffler when we go out to watch the fireworks. Janet

Dear Diary, Let’s see, there’ll be me, my cousin Coy, my cousin Rex, my cousin Ted, Greg Hunt, Little Rusty, Wee Whoa and his dog Bones. Let the games begin. Rusty

Dear Diary, Daddy promised I could hold a sparkler. I can’t wait. Janet

Dear Diary, My cousin Ted said that if you would lay a firecracker in the palm of your hand, and leave your hand open that it won’t hurt when it goes off. Sounded reasonable to me. Rusty

Dear Diary, Holding the sparkler was scary, but it was beautiful. When I waved my hand around, it looked like one long string of light. Janet

Dear Diary, I don’t think I’ll ever get the feelin’ back in my hand. Ted is so stupid. Rusty

Dear Diary, My friend Karen’s sparkler made little black spots on her new sweater. She was very upset. Janet

Dear Diary, My cousin Coy decided to tear open a chaser to get the whistle out. He got gunpowder all over the front of his T-shirt while he was tearin’ into it. Guess what? There weren’t no whistle in there. How’d they do that? Life’s sure a mystery. Rusty

Dear Diary, Good news! My mother was able to get the spots out of Karen’s sweater. My mom is the greatest. Janet

Dear Diary, Poor Coy. He lit a firecracker to throw at Rex and a spark fell on his T-shirt right where that gunpowder was. I didn’t know Coy could run that fast. He looked like a giant sparkler. It was kind of purdy though. Rusty

Dear Diary, Daddy drove us out in the country so we could watch him and my brothers shoot off some bottle rockets. You wouldn’t believe what we saw. It looked like a boy that was on fire running down the road. Surely not. Janet

Dear Diary, Well, we finally got Coy put out. But that T-shirt of his is history. I think he is OK, but one of those things on his chest now looks like it is winkin’. Rusty

Dear Diary, Daddy stuck some Roman candles in the ground and we all counted the little balls of fire as they came out. Boy, now that was fun. Janet

Dear Diary, Durin’ our Roman candle war, Ted thought he had shot all six rounds. The dummy looked down the barrel just as number seven emerged. It hit him right between the eyes. I’ve never laughed so hard in all my life. Rusty

Dear Diary, Daddy made all of us stand back when he set off the bottle rockets. He said it was for safety’s sake. Janet

Dear Diary, Man, Rex had the biggest bottle rocket I’ve ever seen. We decided to send an extra payload up with it. We duct taped firecrackers all around the bottom of it. Man, I bet when it goes off, it’ll make a mushroom cloud. Rusty

Dear Diary, The bottle rockets were so exciting. We screamed when they exploded up in the air. Janet

Dear Diary, The firecracker payload must have been a little too much for that bottle rocket. Oh, it went up all right, but only a couple of feet. Then it just sort of hung there like it was strainin’ to go higher. All of a sudden, it sort of leaned over, and here it came. I turned and started runnin’. I looked back and it was gainin’ on me. I turned back and tried to pick up some speed, but I tripped over Wee Whoa’s dog Bones. I landed face first on the ground. My face was smashed, but fortunately that trip probably saved my life. ‘Cause that rocket zoomed right over me just as I hit the ground. Unfortunately, everybody that was runnin’ in front of me weren’t as lucky. That rocket bounced off of Little Rusty, then Wee Whoa, and finally Greg Hunt. It looked like a giant pinball machine ball as it ricocheted around. Finally, it stuck nose first in the ground right in the middle of all of us. We got up to run, but we were so banged up that all we could do was hobble. Then the rocket exploded. And exploded. And then exploded some more. Those duct-taped firecrackers were blown everywhere. One of them landed in the sack that held all of the rest of our fireworks. Man, you’ve never seen such a show. We tried to get up and run, but we’d get hit with a bottle rocket or a fire ball from a Roman candle or who knows what else. Rusty

Dear Diary, The sky over where we thought we saw the boy that was on fire lit up with quite a fireworks display. It was wonderful. I bet those people were having the time of their lives. Janet

Dear Diary, Finally, the last firecracker popped. We didn’t move for a while just to make sure. Finally, we all tried to get up. Injuries were numerous. Coy was shirtless and his chest was still smolderin’. Ted had a big red dot between his eyes. Rex’s hair was smokin’, and Greg, Little Rusty and Wee Whoa all had huge bruises on various parts of their bodies. My nose was bleedin’ and I had dirt caked up under my eyelids. Bones, the dog, was the only one of us to escape injury. Rusty

Dear Diary, Well, after the fireworks, we headed home. This was the best New Year’s ever. Janet

Dear Diary, Despite our injuries, we were all able to crawl back home. Boy Howdy, this was the best New Year’s ever. Rusty

Janet and I would like to wish you a happy New Year and may God bless each and every one of you.

Rusty Mitchum lives in New Harmony, Texas, where he writes a regular column for The Lindale News and Times. He says the only reason he writes is to keep the voices away.