There are a lot of fireworks, big or small, in Edison Township over the weekend and one very exuberant one just blasted off outside of my window by a neighbor I guess. This year’s celebration is obviously more intense than last year, or any previous year.
It is still illegal to sell, possess, or use most fireworks in New Jersey, but the law relaxed a little bit a while ago. Now it is OK to hold a handheld sparkler or light up a ground based firecracker. It used to be that any fireworks is forbidden except those explicitly allowed by the township, which posed a problem for many Asian immigrants who have the tradition of using firecrackers to ward off haunting spirits when moving into a new place. I have tried to write a story about this, but due to my inability to come up with an interesting ending, the story hasn’t materialized.
The neighboring state of Pennsylvania doesn’t have a strict fireworks rule. It is rumored–I don’t know if this is true–that along the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border there are stores selling firecrackers on the Pennsylvania side, enticing people from New Jersey to go and buy it and transport it in defiance of New Jersey law.
Here is how I celebrated the July 4th in the past ten years:
- Grilled fish cakes, pineapple, riceburger (cooked rice made into hamburger shape) in a friend’s backyard. The food was delicious, but we couldn’t agree on how to clean up the grill afterwards.
- Travel to Monmouth County–about 30 miles south of Edison–to do some saltwater fishing. I was totally against this, but I was overruled, as usual–I always represent minority views, even among friends. The fact is close to New York City (we are 30 miles from it), the ocean just doesn’t look very blue or very clean–it is said Exxon Mobil dirtied up the Hudson River for decades in the 20th century) which is why most of New York City’s seafood comes from elsewhere, either far north past Connecticut or south past Atlantic City into Maryland. I was just worried that we were going to catch several polluted fish and poison ourselves, but again my voice was not considered important. We went, standing on the piers extending into the ocean for more than 200 feet, throwing a certain fishing contraption with fastened chicken legs into the ocean underneath the pier. We didn’t catch much at all. Thank goodness.
- Read a book about the American Revolution. I tried to read a book about Hamilton, but gave it up after the first ten pages. Instead I read “Burr” by Gore Vidal, which is more interesting.
- Went to watch firework at Delaware River Waterfront in Philadelphia. It’s a spectacular show and it is unforgettable. Fireworks over water is the best show ever. When we wanted to get back, we realized that we forgot where we parked. It took us about two hours to find our car.
- We tried to watch a video at a friend’s place about the Revolutionary War and couldn’t find any. The movie “Independence Day” is not about the Revolutionary War. We ended up watching “The Last Of The Mohicans” instead and none of us understood the conflict very much at all.
- We tried to talk about American history around that time to show who knew more. One of us was very interested in food and everything he talked was related to food. And he said he couldn’t believe the revolutionists really dumped the tea leaves in Boston harbor. That’s just too wasteful. They must have dumped the empty chest and carried the tea leaves back home secretly for later consumption.