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Shad and the Firecracker

Story ID:8256
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Dillon Montana USA
Year:2012
Person:Shad
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Shad and the Fire Cracker…
By Chuck Dishno
2012

My brother, Shad, (Frank), was 12 years older than me. He was my oldest brother and the fun loving one. My other brother, Bud, was the quiet one who was always looking out for my welfare. Needless to say, Shad was the fun one to be with as he was always doing something crazy. He was a real practical joker and was always scheming something up. I will write more about his escapades but this one is about an incident he and his friend, Hank, pulled on one their trips to Klamath Falls.

On this occasion, about the 4th of July, 1941 they invited me to go along and I was only too happy to comply. When we got to Klamath Falls, Shad parked Pop’s old ’36 Pontiac, went to the trunk and took out the biggest firecracker I had ever seen. Shad parked it under his arm and we all walked the few blocks to Main Street where there were lots of people standing around. Shad told me to stand back while he and Hank ran into a bunch of people waiting to cross the street. They then set the firecracker on its end, took out a match and lit the fuse. Then both of them hollered something and ran back toward me. They grabbed me by the arm and we went around the corner to watch the excitement.

It was only a few seconds before the crowd realized what was happening and ran in all directions. We watched as the fuse burned out and fizzled to a wisp of smoke. By that time the corner was deserted and Shad calmly walked up to the firecracker, picked it up and headed off to another corner where he and Hank repeated the game again.

What they had done, was to take a 3 foot long of stovepipe, paint it a bright fire engine red, put a cardboard top in it then inserted a real piece of dynamite fuse.

I was only about 6 years old and remember the incident vividly and thought it was the real thing. In recalling this many years later to Shad, he laughed and said they wanted to do it again the next year but were warned by a cop to pack-up and go home.

The next year, Shad and his friend, Hank, enlisted in the Army Air Force where the served for the duration of the war. Shad was married by the time the war was over and he and his wife, Nita, bought a house in Klamath Falls. Shad never did give up his love of practical jokes even pulling some of them on himself just to watch people laugh, I know, as I was usually the straight man in these jokes.

Shad died in 1983 and is buried at the National Cemetery in San Antonio along with Nita and two of his children.

Shad was a good guy and one of my best friends and mentors. After all he taught me the value of a big back seat.

I like to think that when Shad passed thru the Pearly Gates, St. Peter frisked him just to make sure he didn’t have a large firecracker stashed away somewhere. Some times though, when I hear a loud clap of thunder, I wonder if it might be Shad lighting off a 3-foot long firecracker and making the Angels scatter. Who knows?