THE FINE ART OF FIRECRACKERS

This piece was originally published July 1st, 2013.

Uncle Sam IconGrowing up in the Mystery Box-land that is Providence, RI, it has always been a special treat to await the festivities that are annually celebrated on one larger than life day here in the United States, Independence Day.

The Fourth of July.

I grew up near a beach, so in actuality it was the eve of the Fourth, on the night of the Third of July that was the real party, with everyone making bonfires along the beach, and lighting more illegal fireworks than could be imagined.

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Nothing goes better with fireworks than liquor and bonfires on a beach

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The actual day of the Fourth was always reserved more for cookouts, seafood boils, parades and hangovers, with fireworks generally relegated to the larger displays by the local municipalities or baseball stadiums, and whatever scant few firecrackers were still unlit from the night before by the plebeians were casually used—making for an occasional pop and crack here and there throughout the day and night.

Fireworks in RI and MA were illegal. You needed to have someone run a trip up to New Hampshire and fill the trunk of their car, a flatbed, or the back of their truck with enough to satisfy families, friends and seemingly, entire neighborhoods. I can’t recall anyone ever being arrested for using fireworks, as it seemed that unless you really put folks in harm’s way, the local law enforcement looked the other way and enjoyed the spectacle like everyone else. Oh, and did I forget to mention that we had a family friend who was a policeman, and he usually supplied us with loads of firework every year.

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THE DEMOULIN BROTHERS: Your Secret Society Superstore (In The 19th Century)

This piece was originally published March 12th, 2012.

Demoulin Brothers Post TemplateFraternal organizations (a.k.a. “Secret Societies” to many outsiders ) are as much a part of our modern cultural fabric as their names are familiar to us via parades, advertising, or perhaps a relative’s membership: Shriners, Freemasons, B’nai Brith. Elks, Kiwanis, Lion’s Club, Rotary International, Knight’s Of Columbus and The Loyal Order of Moose are but a few of the names you may have encountered driving past a “Temple” or seeing a sign mentioning a charity benefit “meat raffle.”

 

The Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine a.k.a. Shriners

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The Independent Order Of Odd Fellows

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