Rambling with Fergie by John Ferguson

Hamburg Reporter

4th of July

In an effort to keep things topical, it being roughly the week of the Fourth of July, I thought it would be appropriate to use this space to relate to you my experiences of the holiday in my heyday.

In those olden times it was customary for us teenagers to go down “to the line” and stock up on firecrackers. We couldn’t legally purchase such items here in Iowa, so in anticipation of celebrating our nation’s independence by wreaking havoc on the peace of the public, we frequented the nearby fireworks stands in the state of Missouri and brought our booty back to Iowa. Love your neighbors.

On this particular occasion, our source du jour happened to be located on the east side of Hiway 275, but there were stands on both sides of that road available to us. Our driver on that night preferred the east side. So the six of us graced that location, three in the front seat and three in the back.

My position was up front, in the middle. We set off a few boomers and then one of the back seat occupants, my good friend Homer Moore, decided to liven things up a bit. He quietly removed the fuse from a cherry bomb, one of the most destructive firecrackers ever invented, and lit it, with the intention of tossing it forward and scaring the bejeepers out of his front seat companions. (You know what they say about the best laid plans)

What happened was, in his haste, Homer’s aim was altered and his toss, which was supposed to land on the floorboard up front hit me in the back of the head and fell down my back, still sizzling and burning. As I was convinced that I was about to be the recipient of a gaping hole in my back from an exploding cherry bomb, I decided to abandon my position as soon as possible and eject myself up and out of the right side of the car, over the passenger who was occupying that spot. Thank goodness his window was rolled down and I landed in a mudhole just outside the car. It didn’t extinguish the fuse, but it did offer some cooling relief to the fire on my back.

As I assessed the damage later, I was relieved that the explosion didn’t occur, but the damage to my favorite shirt, a red satin one with black flecks, was permanently ruined, due to a large burn hole and much, much mud. I also remember what I said to one of my best friends at the time, “Really, Homer, can’t you be more careful?” Or something similar to that. Remarkably, Homer remains to be one of my best friends to this day, which proves that a friendship with Fergie is a lasting thing.

And with that, I’m outta here.