Buy one ... get one free - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Buy one ... get one free

By Mike Royer

If you pay attention, you can learn something new almost every day or at least once a week. Here’s what I’ve learned in the past week: Never take an 11-year-old shopping for fireworks. That is unless you have an extra house payment in your wallet.

It really is a tempting offer, one most of us fall for every time. Buy one, get one free. That means you're getting something for free, right? If you buy one super-sized pack of multi-colored cannon shots that cost $44.99, then you get another one free. So, using the buy one get one free concept, the second super-sized pack of multi-colored cannon shots you get is free.

It’s not false advertising, you do get the second one for free. Problem is, the first one that you pay $44.99 for was probably bought wholesale by the store about $1.49. I’m all for free enterprise and I’m against price controls, that is unless I’m shopping for fireworks with my 11-year-old son Will.

But, boy did we have fun. Will was in charge of the 3rd Annual Royer Boys 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular. Jack choreographed the music for this year's show, the first one at which we blared music on the dock down by the water. If you blast loud patriotic music from the dock down by the water, it carries across the lake and beyond.

The picture above was taken early in the 3rd Annual Royer Boys 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular. That means it was taken before the trouble began. Looks nice and calm doesn’t it? I know this lady that has a place on the lake and she lets us come there once in a while. It really is a perfect location for the Royer Boys 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular. We can shoot off our fireworks out over the water which makes everyone feel safe, and it’s pretty too.

You should know this part too: The lady I know who lets us come down to her lake place had purchased this really cool flotation deal this year. It’s called a Fiesta Island. Eight people can sit in it as it floats, anchored near the shore. It has this big red 16-quart cooler that floats in the middle of the eight people and it was a big hit with all the guests on the 4th of July. Before the Royer Boys 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular, the Fiesta Island had been dragged up on shore well out of the way.

Back to the fireworks. In the preshow meeting, we covered all angles: how the show would begin, what the finale would be, how Jack would time the start of the music. We even covered how we’d take a big bow at the end as the crowd would go wild with enthusiasm after witnessing such a once-in-a-lifetime event. Finally, I went over the safety rules with one clear piece of required safety knowledge: If you light something and it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do... get rid of it. Throw it in the lake away from you. I didn’t want a Super Sized Multi-Colored Rocket going off in some 11-year-old's hands.

The show was going great… we could hear the crowds oohs and aahs over the sound of the fireworks bursting in air. Then, Will lit a Roman candle, and said “Dad, it’s not going off!”

I said, “Get rid of it.” The instructions in the preshow were clear. “Get rid of it” meant throw it out in the lake. Will threw it off right next to the dock. It hit the water and immediately started shooting balls of flame in every direction… one toward the crowd, another toward the boat house. And, then the last ball of green fire shot out and made a direct hit on the Fiesta Island, which seats eight people. It created a new sound, one of air rapidly rushing out of the fully inflated Fiesta Island.Everyone thought it was all part of the big show, everyone except the lady who lets us come to her lake place once in a while, the same lady that bought the Fiesta Island.

The nice man at some company called Sports Stuff in Omaha, Nebraska couldn’t have been nicer. He said that the little patch that comes with the Fiesta Island isn’t worth even trying. He said he’d be glad to send me a better patch that ought to cover up damaged area and it should be as good as new. I sure hope so. The Royer boys are already planning the 4th Annual 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular and it’s not going to happen if we have no place to shoot 'em off.

See you tonight at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m.

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