4th of July just isn’t the same without a little DDT

I have grand memories of going to Southeast Arkansas throughout all the summers of my childhood, but especially for every 4th of July. We would head out on the 6 hour drive crossing corner to corner of the state {before 540 was built}, each time stopping in Russellville for hamburgers and fries at the only Whataburger I’ve ever known (and will ever support), stopping in North Little Rock to see my grandpa for the 10 minutes he could handle children in his house, stopping just south of Pine Bluff to buy an inordinate amount of fireworks, stopping in Star City for milkshakes – the best in the state, and finally making it to Dermott at some point in the late afternoon and always in time for the fish fry.

On the day of the 4th, we would spend the entire day at the pool, drinking red kool-aid and then seeking air-conditioned comfort and playing duck hunt on the original Nintendo. My cousin (who also was allotted an inordinate amount of fireworks) and I would lay out all of our loot and trade items as if we were bartering for gold and precious gems, then we would make our younger cousins and siblings come in and purchase fireworks from us – knowing full well they’d all get lit in the same spot in the middle of the street in front of our uncles house no matter what.

Going into the evening of the 4th my uncle would roast a pig for everyone, and in return, everyone would bring an ice chest FULL of beer – PBR and Budweiser being the beers of choice – not just for hipsters. All of us kids would line up for the assembly line of mosquito repellant application with the last step being a heavy spray of straight DDT, more than likely personally bottled by one of our mothers as the truck drove by each and every afternoon.

Once it got dark and our sparklers and pop-its and smoke bombs and snakes ran out we would sit in awe as our drunk fathers and uncles would commence to blowing things up, tying things together and blowing them up, throwing firecrackers at things to blow them up … I remember one particular blowing-things-up event when a police cruiser drove over and stopped on top of an already lit pile of explosive, yet not yet exploded – I’ve never heard a louder mixture of yelling and laughing – the police cruiser did not explode.

As we enter into the week of the greatest summer holiday, I hope you can have only as much fun as I remember growing up a total and complete redneck child.

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