Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Project Update #3 and a Story: Fireworks

Happy New Year to you! I worked some more on my postcard project so here is an update. If you would like one of these, stay tuned - I am going to have a drawing when they are finished. There are 9 postcards, and if there are not more people than nine interested, then you can have a choice. Otherwise, I will choose. More information soon!

The original post is here and update #2 is here.

I dabbed pearl white over the tiny glass beads and some other textured parts.

Small makeup sponges, easily found at the drug store, make great paint applicators!

I use lots of the Polymer Medium, so I buy it in the largest size and fill up the bottle on my art table as needed.

Here is a dried white orchid on a dark rose petal. The Polymer Medium is on there very thickly, and will dry clear. This helps the blossom be more flexible and gives a strong seal. This will take a while to dry and may need more to finish it.


39th in the Tuesday Story Series

As we listened to the fireworks explode and light up the sky in the dark this past New Year's eve, it reminded me of celebrations we had as a child. Often on New Year's Eve and the 4th of July we would drive up to my grandparents and meet other family members there. I have written before of how my grandfather had a quintessential country store in a small hamlet ner the center of South Carolina. It was on these holidays that we children would watch my father and his brothers take part what must have been a family tradition, but has not been repeated down into my generation.

My grandfather purchased all types of fireworks in anticipation of the get-together. For the children, he had sparklers which I must say were far superior to what is available today. They would last much longer and we would wave them around into magical designs in the air. There were poppers we could throw on the paved area which would give a satisfying "BANG". The adults would light strings of firecrackers, bottle rockets and even cherry bombs. Loud noises, brief colors in the air above us and the rat-a-tat-tat of the firework strings kept all of us children shouting and cheering. But the biggest event was the anvil jump.

Most farms and ranches still have anvils. Used by blacksmiths, farmers and craftsmen in the early 20th century, they were a necessary part of survival before the advent of modern welding. It was a basic tool, usually made of solid iron, now made of steel, with a hard surface to lay another object on for striking. The inertia of the anvil allows the energy of the striking tool to transfer to the object; it was also used as a forging implement for the shaping of hot metal. So, an anvil was a large and very heavy thing!

My grandfather, uncles and father would haul one out of the back of the store and place it out front. The aunts and my mother would start murmuring to each other and began to call all of the children back to what they considered a safe distance. The men would dig a shallow hole in the sandy ground, shaping it just right and lift the anvil over it from time to time to make sure all of the dimensions were correct. Then there would be a discussion about the technique of how to place the fireworks, whether the newer ones offered any advantages over the tried and true. Finally, they would arrange the fireworks carefully and then place the anvil on top. 

The goal was to see how high they could lift the anvil. As they were making all of the preparations, the women would be making the same comments they made before:

"Boys will be boys!" 

"Sometimes they never grow up, do they?"

"Oh, I hope they don't hurt themselves!"

"I wish they would get it over with!"

Most of the older children begged to be over there with them. Of course the answer would be a firm "NO". 

Then, the moment came and the fireworks were lit. There was a bright light, a very loud "WHUMP" and the anvil would be actually jump. The men and most of the children cheered, while the women and the rest of the children heaved a sigh of relief. There would be discussions about the height of the jump, comparisons to the last time they did it and a lot of back slapping. This event would draw the night to a close.

As I stated, it is not a tradition which is being passed on in this generation and I'm sure it's probably a good idea that it isn't! None of my cousins have an anvil as far as I know, and there are certainly safer ways to celebrate. It's something I remember fondly, though, watching my father, uncles and grandfather behaving like young boys!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!


  1. I love the story about the anvil! It reminded me of a story my mom told us about her childhood holidays. At family gatherings out in Texas (where I guess they don't have fireworks) the cousins developed a game that they called "fireball." They took strips of old tshirts and rags and tied them together into a ball about 3-5 inches in diameter. They took the ball and soaked it in kerosine. Next, all the cousins (and a few of the braver adults) stood in a circle with gloves on. They lit the fireball and then spent hours tossing it around to each other. I'm sure the wives and mamas were rolling their eyes too!

  2. Love the story and the memories it brings back! I sure miss that old store and all the good times we had there! Put me down for a postcard and you know I love the flower or anything purple in color! Any artwork I get from you is a treasure! Love you bunches!


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