July/Aug 2005



Not far from here, and indeed accessible by a single, unbroken road that begins just steps away from "Book Again", there exists an expanse of hills and trees that protrudes out into the Pacific. Its ways are not entirely unknown to our family, and at this time of year the more aged among us cannot help but reflect upon one of the more frustrating aspects of living in that isolated community — namely, the absolute ban of fireworks.

And yet, residents of the eastern portion of those green hills may look down at this time of year upon the harbor, and the community that surrounds it, and wonder if perhaps we have not gone to war...

For, perhaps to balance some unknown sulfurous scale, this little harbor community commences its Independence Day celebrations weeks before the actual day, and night after night one can hear the explosions, see the fire erupt in the night sky, and perhaps feel some kinship with colonists of long ago...

Such as, for instance, those fireworks-loving colonists of Rhode Island, who were so over fond of pyrotechnic pursuits that a law was created, banning fireworks (and unnecessary firing of guns, etc) — in 1731, a year before George Washington was born!

It was probably the first of what are now innumerable restrictions on these happy explosive devices, innumerable nowadays, and indeed inevitable, and probably even wise.

I recall in my youth that nothing was so delightful as the possession of some of that forbidden firework fruit — one could, after all, simply ride one's bike to a neighboring community "below the hill" to find a friendly Red Devil stand — and nothing quite so deliciously naughty as setting one or two off.

I recall in my youth that more than one acquaintance ended up unintentionally burning down a nearby field, or even, in one case, the family garage.

So, yeah, those laws are probably a good thing, particularly in more woodsy environs.

And I have but begun, and yet my space is done! In the spirit of the holiday, I leave you with an appropriate Book-related quote:

"Books constitute capital. A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not, then, an article of mere consumption but fairly of capital, and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life, it is their only capital."—Thomas Jefferson