2009.07.01 Popcorn, a tree and fireworks

Written 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.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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