With the sale of fireworks to South Dakota residents beginning, I'm reminded of how I used to look forward to buying fireworks.

We would invariably buy our fireworks in Sioux Falls at one of the stands--stores, really--that were set up just outside the city limits.My mother's family would get together the evening of the Fourth and all of us kids would light our fireworks.

Now remember, the city limits were a lot closer-in in those days. I can remember buying a boxed assortment at a store on North Cliff Avenue, just north of the cemetery if i remember it right.

Or, and this will surprise some of you, we would buy at a store--a blue building, the way I remember it--on Minnesota Avenue, just south of the Big Sioux River. Yup, that was outside city limits then.

But my brother and I would buy a box with all kinds of fireworks: Roman candles, bottle rockets, cones with a wick on top, and lots and lots of firecrackers. And I eagerly awaited the evening when I could light them.

In those days I had no qualms about lighting individual firecrackers with a lit punk and throwing them. Now when was the last time I had a punk? And we had chickens that would get really scared by firecrackers.

Now, fifty years later, I can't imagine throwing lighted firecrackers. Mind you, I like to watch fireworks--I really enjoy them. But my participation these says isn't nearly as active.

So have fun if you're buying fireworks, but be safe with them.

And don't light them on a rural road and leave the debris for people in the country to pick up!