Greetings, friends! This is a post that I re-post every year around the 4th of July. Note that this is NOT an anti-fireworks post, just an important word of caution for all about the dangers of sparklers. Please share with everyone you know in order to keep people safe as they enjoy independence day. And bonus: it comes with a great recipe! 🙂
I was thinking I had another week to get this post up, but then I realized that the 4th of July is just around the corner! I’ve got two tidbits of info I thought you might appreciate in lieu of the upcoming holiday weekend.
First, a recipe:
Bacon Wrapped Weenies
You’re in for a treat if you haven’t tried these goodies. I’ve yet to bring them to a gathering where they didn’t get rave reviews.
Don’t they look yummy? Here’s the details:
1 lb. bacon
1 large package cocktail weenies
1.5 cups dark brown sugar (we use C&H)
1 box round toothpicks
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with heavy-duty tin foil. Take the pound of bacon and slice it, as a whole, into thirds (since we’re cheap, we slice it into fourths 🙂 ) Wrap a third (or fourth) of a slice of bacon around a weenie, and secure it with a toothpick, then place it on the cookie sheet. Repeat with all weenies, spacing them about 1.5 inches apart. Sprinkle the brown sugar, as evenly as you can, over the top of the weenies with your fingers. Place in oven and cook until bacon looks fully cooked, like in the picture above. You can plan on a good 20-30 minutes, at least, in the oven. Every 10 minutes or so, spoon some of the bacon grease/brown sugar mixture over the weenies, like you do when you baste a turkey. When finished, carefully (they’re hot!) place the weenies on a platter or in a crockpot, and pour any loose remaining sauce over them before serving.
***Low-gi people could do it without the brown sugar too – they still taste yummy! A great treat for your gatherings this weekend!
Now, onto a more sobering piece of advice:
A Lesson Learned
First, I want to boast about my wonderful hubby for a minute. Rick and I have been married for nearly 17 years, and I’ve know him for over 22 years now. One of the things I love most about him (this can also be something that drives me crazy about him 🙂 ) is that he is an intense and detailed learner of stuff. Myself and our longest term friends lovingly like to call him “anal” or “Cliff Claven”, but truth be told, the man I love is chuck full of wisdom. When he takes to learning something, you can place a sure bet that he’ll be an expert on it. Not in a type-A, “I’m going for the big win” way, like I do, but in a thoughtful, introspective “This is important info” kind of a way.
That’s why what happened 1 year ago this upcoming Memorial Day was such a shock to us.
Let me preface the story by saying that Rick just retired from 23 years as a Firefighter/EMT in our old suburb. And the man knows his stuff. He’s been to more classes, read more books, and attended more training sessions than anyone I know. Rick didn’t work at this job for the money, he did it to help others, and since he wanted to be an expert at helping others during perilous situations, he knew that it was important that he learn all he could about fires and injuries/sick people.
But the one piece of learning that he never came across is 23 years is a mistake that at least some people likely make each and every year: They think that sparklers are a safe type of firework. Note: This is not an anti-firework ad. Just a word of caution to our friends.
We found out one year ago that sparklers can be very, very dangerous.
Rick’s family was over, which consists of his mom, his brother, sis-in-law and their three kids. We were having a wonderful time together, as usual. The kids were playing outside. The dads were supervising and playing with them. Rick’s mom was enjoying time with her sons, and sis-in-law and I were chatting in the living room.
Out of nowhere, Rick came sprinting (and I’m talking “running away from a bad guy” sprinting) into the house and headed for the kitchen. He didn’t say a word to us, so we knew it was bad, whatever “it” was. Instinctively, sis-in-law and I tag-teamed: she ran out to check on the kids, I ran into the kitchen to check on Rick.
“We’ve got to go to the Emergency Room” he said.
Ok, Rick never says this. Knowing what he knows about injuries, he knows that 90% of the trips to the ER are really quite unnecessary, at least in his experience. So when he said we were going in, I knew that whatever it was, it was bad. **** Disclaimer: Never underestimate your injury or illness in fear of “bothering” the ER docs or any other reason. If you are unsure about the extent of your injury or illness, get to the Emergency Room immediately.
In the short time between when he burst into the house, and I ran into the kitchen (about 10 seconds) he had his hand in a bucket of ice water.
Here’s what happened:
Rick had decided to light sparklers for the 4 little kids. He held them closely (this is the dangerous part, apparently. Never hold more than one sparkler in close proximity to another) in his right hand, and lit the sparklers with his left, and….BOOM!!! Instant explosion. Yes, EXPLOSION, as in, the inside of his hand was a ball of fire. He immediately threw the ball of flaming sparklers to the ground, told his brother to watch the kids and ran in the house.
Within less than 5 minutes we were in the car, on the way to the ER.
“Drive faster, Laurie. It really hurts.” Ok, HUGE red flag here. Rick has always had a super-high pain tolerance. In fact, the day he went in to get his wisdom teeth pulled, I drove him home, and he got out of the car and started mowing the grass and trimming the landscaping. The guy just doesn’t feel pain. So I knew that we were in trouble with this hand thing.
After a few hours in the hospital with some amazing docs and nurses, we left with 2 sheets of instructions to deal with the 2nd and 3rd degree burns on Rick’s hand.
As a firefighter/EMT, this experience left Rick with a whole new appreciation for burn victims. Even this “minor” (comparatively) burn was unbearably painful for him. He couldn’t imagine what serious burn victims have to go through, and he now has a whole new compassion for them.
And the downside of Rick not really being able to feel pain (usually) is that it comes with another side issue: pain drugs just don’t work for him. So he had to tough it out. The docs gave him 3 different meds to try, and not only did they not reduce the pain, but they gave him stomach issues. Oh, joy.
The good news is that Rick is just fine today, but the moral of the story is that although the perception is that sparklers are safe, that’s just not always true. They can indeed be very dangerous. If you choose to still use them to entertain your kids, please be very, very careful.
Rick’s biggest piece of thankfulness over this whole ordeal was that it was him who was hurt and not one of the kids who were there that day.
We haven’t used sparklers since, and I don’t know that we ever will. Maybe, maybe not. But that’s not the point of this story. The point is to always use sparklers and other fireworks cautiously.
So grab some good food, some friends and/or family, and enjoy the upcoming holiday weekend. 🙂