It started out as a fun day … my husband, John, marched with the American Legion color guard in a parade at 9 o'clock that morning. After the parade, we had lunch at the Legion Hall with two friends from the choir. It was both a delicious and delightful luncheon. Lots of good food and laughter.
I went home to await our next event. We were invited to a friend's home for a barbecue. Couldn't wait. Took my coleslaw and homemade chocolate-chip cookies and headed out. When we arrived, there were about 25 of us, with three small boys included. All was going great … the barbecue was terrific!
It started to drizzle around 8 p.m. At 9 p.m. they asked us all to go to the garage to watch a fireworks display being launched from the bottom of the driveway. My husband and I have never liked fireworks but went along with the crowd. We were all in the garage, watching the fireworks, when suddenly I saw three bright lights coming toward us. I had a 4-year-old boy sitting on my lap and suddenly he screamed and cried. I noticed something on my pant leg and a hot searing pain in my sandal. I screamed, "Take off my shoes," but there was so much smoke and utter chaos that no one heard me. I jumped up and told the boy I had to put him down. I kicked off my shoes and ran to the wet grass to put out the fire.
My shoes were burned and both my feet were burned, red and swollen. I started yelling for aloe. My husband found a plant in the yard, and they put it all over my burned feet. A man named Charley told me he had medication from the hospital for burns, along with some bandages, and he would go across the street to get them. He returned, put the ointment all over my feet and wrapped them.
When I went to the doctor, he told us we did everything right. But it would take weeks for my feet to heal. I can never explain to anyone the pain I had. I can only implore anyone who uses fireworks to stop. This is gunpowder you are using, and it cannot always be controlled.
When I think of what could have happened, I shudder. The little boy who was on my lap had a wound on the side of his head and other burns on his scalp. He had to have stitches for his wound, but he could have lost an eye. Others had burns on their legs, and the house could have burned to the ground.
If you love your children, say no when they ask you for fireworks. It's safer.
Anne Rakucewicz lives in Weeki Wachee.