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The 4th of July

My hometown had some 8,000 residents, situated midway between Kansas City and St. Louis, on the Missouri River. James A. Michener mentioned the town without using its name in the book “Centennial.” By Missouri standards, we were a small town. A reformatory for boys, ages 10-18, was located on the edge of town, complete with a dairy.

Every 4th of July they put on a free fireworks display. When we lived in town, my dad would drive the car to the prescribed parking lot and we’d settle in for the evening. Mom always made lots of snacks to munch on, refusing to spend money at the snack bar.

The len...


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