2009.07.01 Popcorn, a tree and fireworks

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

At 10 p.m. on Saturday night of the Morenci Town & County Festival, I’m always at Wakefield Park. For years and years, that’s where I’ve been—until this weekend.

I watched the fireworks show; I just wasn’t at the park.

I made it to the Battle of the Bands on Friday night. It’s an interesting show, and not just for the listening but for the people watching. It seems there are many people—spanning several decades in age—who don’t particularly care if they’re listening to a kid scream against the sound of a raucous guitar. They just like to be there to witness amateur musicians standing up to make music.

I took some softball photos and carnival ride photos in a nice evening sun, went home for a while before returning for the arm wrestling. One of the competitors kept spitting on the ground and I kept nudging my camera bag further out of the way.

I made it to the parade the next morning, missed the Make-Over presentation, got a corn hole photo and another from the Child ID program. Then I made the trek back to the NWD building to witness the spectacle of what’s called wrestling.

Wrestling? There must be other words to describe this show. I’ve never been drunk before, but I assume that in the proper state of inebriation, this could be quite amusing.

I got a few photos and returned home to recover before Cody “HiZe” Long gave his rap performance. And then back home before Charles Elliot performed.

I needed to get back to the park a little early to get a photo of Elliot and fund-raiser supreme Bonnie Kime. She really wanted Charles Elliot at the festival so she raised the money to pay his fee.

If you were there, thank Bonnie for the excellent show. He’s a great entertainer.

Before Charles Elliot came on stage, his band, “The Benders,” played a few tunes including Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl.” Just when they got to the line “like a dove...” a mourning dove flew over the audience. Excellent timing, I thought, but later I looked at the lyrics and learned that for 40 years I had misheard the words. There is no “like a dove”; it’s only “lah tee dah.”

I got my photos and, of course, returned home because being at the festival means I’m working. It’s a busy weekend.

I was sitting here at my computer when the opening blasts went off signaling the start of the fireworks show.

Joe Farquhar had come into the office a few times recently to give updates on the fireworks fund-raising effort. Five thousand bucks. We joked about how the 19-minute show would cost $263 a minute.

I was surprised how loud the blasts were even at my house. I picked up the bowl of popcorn I had just made and walked to the sidewalk. I could see the light through the trees and walked south for a better view. The funeral home staff recently had the final tree cut down on its property. A blight on the landscape that offered good fireworks viewing.

I leaned against my neighbor’s tree and was astounded at how good the show was from that distance. Especially with a bowl of popcorn.

After the first couple thousand dollars blew up, I was getting a little critical. It seemed that too many of the blasts were repeats. I wanted more diversity for the next thousand.

There was some new stuff every now and then, but not enough.

My favorite wasn’t the fast bursts of color that shot out across the sky. I liked a particular slow moving release. It was like a handful of white comets were thrown upward, but they were almost at their apex and losing speed and they soon reached the point where they cascaded back toward earth.

You can look at the show as $263 a minute, but that’s a little skewed. The grand finale always comes through at about $500 a second.

For the first part of the show, I could only see it. For the finale, I could feel the percussion all the way over on Summit Street. What a blast.

And even from my neighbor’s tree, I could hear the applause and cheers erupt at the park when it ended. Then came one final treat: no traffic jam. I was home in 16 seconds.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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