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Column: Ready to explode

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A big sarcastic thank you to the Rosemount residents who made falling asleep impossible every night of this past Fourth of July weekend because they were igniting fireworks so loud they were illegal.

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The first night, after looking out the window to see colorful explosives illuminating the heavens not far from my house, I called the police department. Aware the laws had changed, I wondered if whoever was doing this was within the law. They weren't. Anything that shoots into the sky and is accompanied by a loud boom is illegal, the officer told me. I wondered how the department could crack down on offenders because even though I couldn't see all of the displays, it sounded like I was under attack from every part of town.

You know, I'm not a stick-in-the-mud like it might sound. In my nearly 63 years, I've been to lots of Fourth of July celebrations and the best part was always the fireworks. When I was a kid, my father drove to an adjoining state to buy strings of firecrackers and rockets for bottles. Sparklers, too. We couldn't wait until after dinner when Dad hollered to us that it was time to go out to the driveway. He made all of us back up from the blastoff scene until we were almost inside the garage. Then, one by one, he lit the fuses. Some were duds but still, we all let forth a steady stream of oohs and ahhs. Then, we each got to wave a sparkler around for awhile. There were no loud crashing noises to upset the neighbors and luckily, no burned fingers from the sparkling sticks.

Today's parents probably want to impress their youngsters with a patriotic display, too. But illegal is illegal and as my mother liked to say, "Right is right, dear." Mom, who was never excited about Dad's Independence Day show, had lots of rules about what was right. Etiquette, she called it. Good manners. There were rules about when we could make a phone call -- never after nine in the evening and for sure, not before eight in the morning; 10 on weekends -- and how early we could ring the doorbell of our friends' homes, too. She didn't want us to wake up anyone. Being respectful of neighbors was important to my parents. I try to act the same and can tell you for sure, it wasn't any of my good neighbors who made it impossible to fall asleep last weekend.

Maybe the Rosemount residents who kept the police busy until the wee hours made sure their neighbors wouldn't complain by inviting them over for beer and burgers before treating them to the pyrotechnic display. Maybe the hosts had so much beer they were unaware the noise would travel out of their backyard and intrude on other people's sleep. Maybe they could snooze until noon and didn't realize some people had to get up for work. Well, as my mother was also fond of saying, they should "wake up and smell the coffee."

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