Summer in Oregon doesn't usually arrive until July. Following a wet, cold spring like this one, warm weather and sunshine approaches the glory of a miracle. All the better for enjoying some nice, legal-in-Oregon* Fourth of July fun...
According to the Web site of the American Pyrotechnics Association (no, I'm not making this up), fireworks made their way to Europe from China between the 13th and 15th centuries AD. The Italians were the first Europeans to manufacture their own fireworks. This imported enthusiasm for black-powder explosions and the like made its way across the pond to colonial North America, where as early as 1731 the colony of Rhode Island imposed restrictions upon the proper use of fireworks. Fireworks were a part of celebrations commemorating the first anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, in 1777.