Salute

What explosions! Three-inch salutes blew innocent tin cans over the trees, cherry bombs lifted starling-swarms from the ripe mulberries, strings of ladyfingers stung our hands; each night Roman candles, Vesuvius cones, and skyrockets blazed into the dark. With the Fourth scarcely a week ahead, what were we boys thinking of to send so much of our savings up in smoke?

Foolish, of course, but we owed a tribute to the heat and freedom we had itched for through those long spring days in school; and still when summer rises in my middle age, the yearning comes to fire one star-shell into the evening to splinter in flame and drift across the cooling sky its white spider-shape of smoke.

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