Summer Sounds: Firecrackers

Listener Bev Brown of Georgetown, Texas, tells us about her Summer Sound. Growing up on the plains of southeastern South Dakota, Brown says her father was the Fireworks Man. Every Fourth of July of her childhood, her dad planned and "shot" the Sioux Falls municipal fireworks show.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

It's Independence Day, so today in our regular feature, Summer Sounds, we hear from a listener who has a special connection to the day's noisy ritual.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. BEVERLY DODGE BROWN(ph): My name is Beverly Dodge Brown, and I live in Georgetown, Texas. For me, growing up on the plains of southeastern South Dakota, summer was synonymous with the Fourth of July. After all, my dad was the fireworks man.

(Soundbite of fireworks)

Ms. BROWN: Every July 4th of my childhood, dad planned and shot the Sioux Falls municipal fireworks show at the football stadium.

(Soundbite of fireworks)

Ms. BROWN: As the whole city cheered and gasped in awe, that made July Fourth the biggest day of the year, the apogee of summer vacation toward which each day of summer inched, and the summit from which the remainder of vacation hurtled toward the start of school.

(Soundbite of fireworks)

Ms. BROWN: Dad always started the show with a single report aerial shell salute, shot hundreds of feet into the air from a buried mortar and exploding with a near sonic boom.

Next, a series of colored aerial bursts, each launched from a mortar with a forceful shoom.

(Soundbite of fireworks)

Ms. BROWN: The crowd following its trail into the sky, holding its collective breath until the shells burst into luminous flowers.

(Soundbite of fireworks)

Ms. BROWN: Mushrooming out symmetrically horizon to horizon. Then the multi-stage shells with multiple bursts, first green, then yellow, then blue. And always the final frame piece was the American flag, sizzling forth its red, white, and blue fire and smoke, and the mortar operators launched a final deafening volley of aerial salutes.

(Soundbite of fireworks)

Ms. BROWN: Then startling silence, the field heavy with shifting layers of smoke. Summer had peaked in a thunderous fiery spectacular. Its anticlimactic remainder stretched out lazily, to dissipate amorphously like the crowd flowing out of the stadium, carrying cushions and coolers and memories of the magnificence of dad's Fourth of July fireworks show.

NORRIS: Beverly Dodge Brown, now of Georgetown, Texas, and her July 4th summer sound.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: