This happened back about 1972…and I’m pretty sure about that time because we still lived at 115 E. Vine Street in Blytheville, AR. I would have been about 17 years old and my younger brother, Kevin was 3 years younger than me, so he was 14 years old.
We had been shooting firecrackers earlier this day, sometimes even throwing a lit firecracker at each other with my baby brother David (he was 13 years old). I eventually went in the house and after a while, I heard Kevin come back in the house and go into the bathroom. I really didn’t think anything of it, but David let me know that while Kevin was still outside, he had stuffed a bunch of firecrackers into his pocket and was lighting the firecrackers and throwing them in the yard. Apparently one of the sparks got into the front pocket of his jeans and the entire bundle of firecrackers started to explode all at once. Kevin jerked his pants off outside and then ran into the bathroom and that’s when David let me know what happened.
I went to the bathroom door and knocked on and asked Kevin if he was OK. He said he was OK, but I didn’t believe him. I told him to open the door and show me his leg and he wouldn’t do it. So being the GOOD brother I was…I said, “Kevin, if you don’t open this door and show me your leg, I’m gonna go and tell Mom”. He took the bait and opened the door. When I saw his leg, I knew it was BAD. REAL BAD. Kevin had a circle about the size of an orange that was bloody, raw, black and what looked like gun powder all around the wound. Immediately, I yelled “MOOOOOM, come here quick!”.
Mom gathered Kevin up and rushed him to the old Chickasawba Hospital and I think it was Dr. Cole that met them in an exam room. They cleaned up the mess and debrided the wound, then put a pretty good sized bandage on his leg.
It’s funny now. I don’t know if Kevin was ever pissed at me for telling on him (maybe I should ask), but I’m sure the pain he felt was much worse than the injury ended up being, but it sure looked nasty. I don’t remember seeing him ever mess with firecrackers after that…if he did, I wasn’t around.
I was a good brother. LOL