Bottle Rockets, Homemade Ice Cream, and Black-Bottomed Feet


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Childhood, Holidays, Memories, Summer | Posted on 03-07-2012

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The 4th of July is my favorite holiday.

It is the holiday that screams summer, family, yummy food, and celebration.

As a kid, when I spent summers in Missouri, I’d shake my apple bank empty. (I had a bank where you would insert a coin and the worm would grab it and take it to the inside of the apple = coolest bank ever!) I shoved the handfuls of coins into my pockets until they bulged. Then I would climb on my bubble gum-pink Schwinn–with the banana seat–and bolt to the nearest fireworks tent, Famous Dave’s.

Back then, $5 would buy a lot of awesomeness. Smoke bombs, Piccolo Petes, Roman candles, sparklers, snakes (that would make a permanent black mark on my Dad’s driveway), and bottle rockets–my favorite! Those suckers are illegal where we live now. Just the other night, when my 13-year-old son and I were buying fireworks, how you’d balance the glass Coke bottle on the wooden fence, drop in a bottle rocket, light the fuse with your punk, and run.

On the 4th, my Dad always made ice cream. The old-fashioned kind. Always vanilla. With ice and rock salt and a crank. It took way too long.

The street asphalt would bubble under the sweltering heat. I often went shoeless. Coming home after meandering through our neighborhood on my bike–with black-bottomed feet–I just in time to help with the final cranking of the ice cream, and suck on an ice cube laden with salt, until the ice cream was ready.

It was the 4th. And it was a celebration of all of my senses.

Happy 4th of July!



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Comments (33)

Happy 4th of July, Pippi! May your sparklers last long and your smoke bombs smell deliciously of sulfur! 🙂

Love the imagery of all of it, but particularly the idea of you teaching your son to fire bottle rockets! Hah.

What a fun, all-American post!*

*Disclaimer: Pish-Posh, if you’re reading this, note that i didn’t say ‘MERICAN. 🙂

Childhood memories of summer fun and holidays are some of the best. I’m glad your dad spent all that time making you icecream – in a way he created the perfect atmosphere to cement those memories into your head.

Happy (soon to be) 4th!

Ah Pipster, to be a kid again. I miss the innocence! Good descriptions and naming of fireworks. I couldn’t remember any names.

Such nice memories! Is that your bike or a very good facsimile? Either way, that is the most rocking banana seat ever! Ellen

Thank you! I love the smell of smoke bombs. Is that weird?

Happy 4th to you too!

He is so jealous especially since they don’t sell them around here. We are the little pyro family. 🙂

Thanks for writing and for your nice compliment!

Thank you!


Yeah, it was awesome. Except for so much cranking and so many hours to make like one gallon of ice cream! I just buy it in a carton for my kids and call it good. I will make them homemade cookies though.

Thanks for writing!

Thank you…it’s fun to have kids now so that I can relive the innocence.

Thanks for your note!

P.S. One of my soccer peeps calls me Pipster. Any chance because it rhymes with Pipster? Ha. I’m so not a hipster.

I really wish it were my bike. Mine looked just like it but had a white basket with plastic flowers. Perfect for stashing my shoes in. Ha!

Thanks for writing!

I love the black-bottomed feet. I had those my entire childhood, I think. I also had black fingers on the 4th because I’d always try to pick up the snake once it burnt out. Great post. Brought back a lot of memories.

Snakes were some of my favorite as a kid! We were poor growing up, so we had to be creative and put on our own fireworks show with bottle rockets and fire crackers. We would tie the fie crackers to the bottle rockets and twist the fuses together and see who could create the most bangs in the air.

Good times!

Thanks for sharing a great memory.

Michael A. Walker
Defying Procrastination

Damn, now I want homemade ice cream. I may have to settle for Cold Stone.

I know! I do love Cold Stone, though, it’s like the next best thing!


Snakes were my favorite as a kid too. I bought my own fireworks and had to stretch the ol’ dollar. 🙂

My 13-year-old ties the fire cracker fuses to already-burned up tanks and what-not. I swear, I have a pyro in training!

Thanks for sharing your memory as well!

Aw, thanks, and yeah I would try to pick up the snakes too and then they would sorta break off into your hand.

Thanks for writing!

Lovely memories. . .reminds me of my mom talking about growing up in a small town where the kids ran wherever they wanted with no supervision and always had their knives on them for playing mublety-peg! Different time.

I love your Schwinn. I confess – fireworks have always terrified me, but your description of them is so lovely that I can see a little of their appeal. I’m much MUCH more attracted to the ice cream, though!!

Yeah, how can you resist the ice cream?

I want some for breakfast!

Happy 4th!

Aw, you’re right. Different time when adult supervision wasn’t really a requirement. So much freedom. Kinda sad how things have changed.

Thanks for your comment!

ah sparklers. i love sparklers. i had a great-uncle who loved fireworks and every summer, he’d come to michigan with a giant bag of fireworks from pennsylvania (they were illegal in michigan). And then he’d light them off – always letting the boys help and laughing at the endangerment of thumbs, fingers, eyebrows. it was great.

I had that same bike! What a wonderful way to carry on a family pyro tradition, LOL… Many happy years blowing stuff up!


Ooh, love that memory!

Thanks for sharing!

Didn’t you just love your big banana seat?!

Yeah, just call me Pyro Pippi. 🙂

Thanks for the smile,

Did you have them? You used to could pick them up “whole” and see how long you could hold them before they would disintegrate!


I loved reading about your memories! 🙂
You have such a wonderful way with words, you always make me feel like I am there with you!
Great job, like always!

Aw, thank you so much!

I bet we would have been good friends, racing around in our banana seats!


I always ran around with black-bottomed feet in the summer. Fun memories!

I love that!

Glad you did too!

What great memories of the 4th!

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