One summer night in the mid-1960s a grammar school buddy got his hands on some (now illegal) cherry bombs and M-80s.  We went sneaking through the neighborhood with this arsenal, stopping briefly to light them and drop them into sewers and down the exhaust pipes of Johnny-on-the-Spots. We’d then run like hell to safety from the blinding flash, thunderous bang and enormous plume of smoke.

I've never forgotten the danger, thrill and the rush of that night.

I love the mom-and-pop firework stands and temporary tents that suddenly sprout up during the selling season before Independence Day. The vivid colors and clever signage signal the very essence of summertime, youthful adventure.