Certified in Pyrotechnics

For the past three years, my Dad and I have been volunteers for Pekin's Chamber of Commerce fireworks show. Believe it or not, we've actually been trained and certified in the art of launching 6" shells hundreds of yards into the air. And as if that isn't enough fun - they also feed us breakfast, free drinks, and a delicious steak dinner to top it all off. It's a rough gig.

We launch from the baseball diamond: 1 aerial crew on each base path. Our fearless leader stands on the pitcher's mound shouting instructions. Among his vocabulary of commands, "LOW" is the most dangerous ... it means that a shell has failed to launch properly and that we should all hit the deck.

In our training, they said this almost never happens ... They were wrong. It happened twice our rookie year. Three times the second year. It's actually quite entertaining ... you're not supposed to look up, but I usually do just to see what the inside of a firework looks like.

This year was different. Instead of shooting off fireworks, I found myself driving on I-55 south heading home from a conference. I rounded the turn in Bloomington just as the sun went down. As soon as the sky turned dark it was illuminated with fireworks all along the horizon. I could see the shows in at least 8 cities! What an amazing perspective to watch from!

I made it to Pekin to catch the last ten minutes of the show ... can't wait to rejoin the crew next year.


David Duer said...

Here in Alabama, it is nearly impossible to see multiple shows due to the not so flat terrain. I am feeling a great analogy between the fearless leader on the pitching mound shouting instructions to ensure a worthy show and safetly and how Jesus died on a mound (hill) giving us instruction. One could even argue that his actions were also a shout but how often we deviate from those instructions just to see the "inside" . Or even how if the leader was not sending instructions all the fireworks would be used in a matter of minutes but you listen and wait for the instructions. How hard it is for me to wait for the instructions of God.

Perhaps those are stretches but oh well. For what is worth.

Lacey said...

I believe, and if you remember correctly you'll concur, that you owe me a picture in the fireman outfit. You promised, wouldn't want to go back on a promise would you?


JGanschow said...

jake, you are my hero. i had no idea you were a pyro. next time i see you i want your autograph....and then i want you to blow it up...

Courtney C said...

Hey I'm a pyro too! I've been known to shoot fireworks for the Chiefs games on multiple occasions. However....no one has allowed me near a 6" shell to date. Lucky!

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