Hoolie McBride’s ‘Vesuvius in Flames’

Greetings from the Ridge.
    I can’t think of the Fourth of July without remembering him. Hoolie McBride was the town carpenter, mechanic, roof fixer, dog tamer, and sometimes Bingo caller at our annual Burgoo. He was a scruffy little fellow who managed to always sport about six days of beard, and some said that he wore his oil-stained pants for so many days that he had no need of clothes hangers in his closet. Hoolie just stood the pants up in the corner when he went to bed.
    The older I get the more I admire passion in a fellow, even if that passion is sometimes misplaced or out of whack with the rest of the world. Too many people die not being able to say they’ve actually lived. Hoolie’s passions ebbed and flowed from season to season. Christmas would find him stringing his own lights across the town park and when Easter rolled around the families in Coonridge would awake on Resurrection Morning to find Easter eggs strewn across their lawns, all courtesy of the Hoolie Bunny. But there was something about the Fourth of July that brought out both the best and the most extreme in our friend’s passion. There was nothing he liked better than to see the night sky explode with the sight and sound of fireworks.

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