We commenced to firing that eight-inch barrel, using black powder as the propellent. I can remember standing on Popo's back yard, helping him light the fuse to fire a one-inch steel ball at a target across the lawn. Most of the time we didn't include the ball, but just wadded paper towel or toilet paper and stuffed it into the barrel.
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This, the 40th year of this tradition, wasn't any different. Watching that fuse sizzle closer and closer to the aperture, the anticipation is pretty rich. One just knows the blast is approaching, but don't even think you can watch without jumping at the sound: the boom that emits from the explosion is enough to shut down a neighborhood full of firecrackers. It's truly a wonderful noise.