Why Shooting Fireworks Won't Be A Part Of My Fourth Of July

Why Shooting Fireworks Won't Be A Part Of My Fourth Of July

If you choose to shoot fireworks, keep in mind that an accident involving these can be life altering.
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What comes to mind when you think of the Fourth of July? BBQ's with the family, pool time, the beach, red, white, and blue, patriotism, and maybe, fireworks? Fireworks have become a staple of this fun summer holiday. Sparklers, Roman candles, big explosions, poppers, and bottle rockets. That last one, bottle rockets, begins the story of why I no longer include these dangerous explosives in my Fourth of July, or any, festivities.

It wasn't the Fourth when my story took place, but it happened on New Year's Eve. My freshman year of high school, 2 days before I turned 15, my life changed because of fireworks. That night, innocently watching while my friends shot bottle rockets, I almost lost that itself, my vision. One particular bottle rocket left its intended path and landed on my right eyelid, sending me into a whirlwind of missing school, surgeries, the worst pain I have ever experienced, and vision problems that would continue further into my life.

This one firework caused a detached retina, tear in my iris, and tear in my cornea. I had stitches in my cornea and a lens transplant, but the tear in my iris could not be fixed. This causes a really strong glare in my vision, due to the fact that my pupil stays enlarged at all times, letting a great amount of light in, which causes the normal amount of haziness from my transplant to be in my view at all times. That causes looking at lights and focusing to be extremely difficult. So driving at night and focusing around headlights, looking at computer screens and focusing on something, etc. all becomes really difficult. We all take simple abilities like that for granted, but I have a different perspective on that now.

So why don't I shoot fireworks anymore? Well, I never really cared for them anyways. I'm kind of a sissy when it comes to stuff like that. But now? I guess you could say my fear increased a little. I also may hold a bit of a grudge. I mean I understand this firework didn't have a mind of its own and purposefully attack me, but it's kind of hard not to hate something that caused you to have surgeries, stitches in your eye (really weird feeling), miss school for 4 months, and have vision problems that several different doctors tell you can't be fixed.

I know fireworks are fun. I used to love sparklers and watching the big displays. But now? I refuse to watch them except from inside a building, I still cringe at the noise and the memories flood in at the burning smell.

Even though fireworks won't be a part of my holiday, I'm not asking anyone else to not participate. All I ask is that you read this and know that they can be very dangerous and life altering. You may think you have got it under control but accidents happen.

Please be safe this holiday season, whether or not you decide to shoot these things that changed my life.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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52 Instagram Captions Perfect For Your Next Beach Vacation

Perfect for those beach daze.
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Summer is officially in full swing. We are all looking forward to the adventures that await us. A lot of us have been dreaming about the day when we finally get to kick our feet up and relax by the ocean. If you find yourself getting ready for a trip to the beach then read these quotes to help get your in the mood for your vacation. Whether you are looking for an Instagram caption or are just trying to settle a bad case of wanderlust, here are 52 quotes on summer:

1. "Hello summer."

2. "I'm happiest when I'm floating in the ocean."

3. "May you always have a shell in your pocket, and sand in your toes."

4. "Life is better with palm trees."

5. "Sandy toes. Sun-kissed nose."

6. "Balmy nights, pink sunsets, and salty air."

7. "Talk to the sand."

8. "Live in the sunshine. Swim in the sea. Drink the wild air." -Emerson

9. "Everyone should believe in something. I believe I should go to the beach."

10. "Spontaneity is the best kind of adventure."

11. "The ocean is calling and I must go."

12. "Here comes the sun."

13. "If it requires a bikini, my answer is yes."

14. "I'm just a beachy kinda girl."

15. "As free as the ocean..."

16. "As endless as the ocean, as timeless as the tides..."

17. "Life's a beach. Enjoy the waves."

18. "A pineapple a day keeps the worries away."

19. "Let the currents guide your heart."

20. "Happiness comes in waves."

21. "Let's go somewhere where the stars kiss the ocean."

22. "My favorite color is sunset."

23. "I lost my heart to the sea."

24. "Sun, sand, and surf."

25. "Salt in the air. Sand in my hair."

26. "Smell the sea, and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly." -Van Morrison

27. "High tides and good vibes."

28. "Mermaid kisses and starfish wishes."

29. "Stop and smell the ocean."

30. "I'm happy anywhere I can see the ocean."

31. "Tropical state of mind."

32. "Forever chasing the sun."

33. "Girls just wanna have sun."

34. "Some of the best memories are made in flip flops." -Kellie Elmore

35. "Good times and tan lines."

36. "Palm trees, ocean breeze, salty air, sun-kissed hair, endless summer, take me there."

37. "The ocean is calling."

38. "Love you to the beach and back."

39. "Paradise found."

40. "Seas the day."

41. "Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air..." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

42. "Eat. Beach. Sleep. Repeat."

43. "I never met a sunset I didn't like."

44. "Beach daze always."

45. "Catch me by the sea."

46. "Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair." -Zac Brown Band

47. "Stay salty."

48. "Done adulating- let's be mermaids."

49. "Find me under the palm trees."

50. "Sea you soon."

51. "Hello sunshine."

52. "Don't mind me... I'm just chasing the sun."

Cover Image Credit: Jakob Owens // Unsplash

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We Need to Forget About Advertising And Bring Back Small-Town-Style Parades

What makes small-town parades special

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Today it seems most parades are extended commercials; each business uses their own float as an advertisement but it seems the foundation of a modern parade should be more than just a consumer's buffet. The Chatham Fourth of July Parade in Cape Cod, MA is considered one of the last small-town American parades.

What makes the small-town American parade special is its emphasis on community. I've had the luxury of walking in the Chatham Fourth of July Parade for three years now and every year there is a theme that somehow relates to their town, it is town pride.

What's special about this small-town parade is the passion its participants have. It's not a hundred professionals, strangers to each other working to put up the big inflatable snoopy or the muppets float like the Thanksgiving day parade. The focus of the parade is not one big celebrity people could only dream of having a conversation with. The small-town parade is average people with average jobs coming together to create something not even close to average.

All of the locals in town work on their own float for what they are representing, like a small business or theatre troupe or ice cream shop. It's a small-town, most of the people in the parade know each other and lend each other materials or ideas. Technically the Chatham parade is a competition, each float competing for a plaque and some publicity but that's not why all of these people come out to participate.

It's not to win, or to show-off their businesses or events show how fancy their float is. It's to have fun and to make the spectators have fun. It is a time to forget the troubles back home and enjoy the people you are watching the parade with. It is an opportunity to live in the moment.

As I walked the parade route, I saw all of the people watching smiling or talking or singing along to each float's music. The kids were all sandwiched in the front row with little bags or frisbees eagerly awaiting the goodies traditionally handed out. It's like Christmas in July for the kids. The parade route is hot, with close to no shade, even just sitting watching is enough to dehydrate for the day and yet nobody seems to care.

Everyone is still smiling. The point of a parade is not to advertise or show-off, the point of a parade is, as the Chatham, Cape Cod parade proves, to bring a community together under a common theme. It doesn't matter if the theme is pride or holidays or any other hundred themes, all that matters is the people of a community are together, supporting each other and having fun.

Cover Image Credit:

Anna Favetta

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