A Stampede, Burning Beard, and Blown Up Shed–Happy Fourth

The 4th of July—Independence Day—a commemoration few countries can claim. We are truly blessed!

I’m sure each of you has memories of 4th of July celebrations with your family and friends. One of my childhood favorites was sitting on the roof of my home watching fireworks at Liberty Park. I assumed at the time that Independence Day would always be somewhat the same. That is, until I woke up on my honeymoon to find rockets drying on our window sill. My new spouse responded to my questions with, “Oh, did I forget to tell you about my hobby?” That incident began a totally new meaning of “the 4th of July”.

You see, after a Bachelor Degree, two Masters and two years of medical school, my now-totally eccentric husband founded a fireworks business. Fireworks West began on that window sill with a borrowed $35, and has been through the Olympics, Super Bowls, Disneyland and International fireworks competitions in Sweden. Yes, I do indeed have a strange bedfellow.

Now my memories of the 4th of July fall into a totally different genre:

  1. Running for dear life with my firing flare as a lighted 8” shell is rolling down a hill straight for me.
  2. Carrying our shells down to the bottom of Grand Canyon on mules to deliver and shoot it for Havazu indian tribe— and then starting a horse stampede.
  3. Watching with shock as our mixing shed is blowing straight up in the air, to the enthusiastic cheers of our children.
  4. Observing my hubby dancing around our firing site with his beard  on fire, while I am trying to light the show.
  5. Running for cover in the Lagoon rodeo grounds as bulls were let out in the firing area, only to watch them trample our equipment and shells and relieve themselves in our mortars.

This list could go on and on!

We now spend a traditional morning on the 4th of July with a flag raising ceremony on our front lawn, singing, speaking, and finally the man in my life rolls out the cannon and provides the proper patriotic salute. Our neighbors either participate with us, or rue the day we moved into the neighborhood. Well, those are my memories—how about you?

No matter how you spend your holiday, take a moment to think of all that it means to us. Where would we be and what would be our condition in life if our forefathers did not declare and fight for our freedom.

Come into the Book Table and see some of the items that we have on display to help you celebrate the 4th. My personal favorite this year is a flag image designed by a local artist, Brent Borup. It is definitely a reminder of what is really important.


-Mary Ann


  1. This was an utterly hilarious read!!!! Can my husband and I take you and yours out to dinner or rub shoulders in some way?! What a riot! This man couldn’t possibly be the famous “Three-Fingered Ralph” of local fame, could it? I re-read this entry over and over again!
    Happy Holidays to you!

  2. I thought this was so funny! I can’t believe your husband’s beard caught on fire! Thanks for writing it!

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