Janice and I made the trek to Athens on 4th of July evening. Usually, it would to be to see the fireworks at the Athens Country Club and the ACC Govt. show at Bishop Park. You know, I just wasn't into fighting the crowds to get a crick in my neck this year. We were both tired. I had dug taters in the heat, like a dummy, and she canned tomatoes all day. All told, we should have stayed home...but it WAS the 4th of July. We had to go to town, especially when everybody we knew called all afternoon wanting to know where the hell we were!
The Georgia Mudcats, our band, used to play at the Country Club for the 4th of July festivities in past years. It was fun just to go out to the practice field after a good meal, lay in the cool, close clipped turf, and watch the show. Just lie there until that show was over, turn around and watch the Bishop Park fireworks without even standing up. The private sector always tries to outdo the Gub'ment. Last year the Govt. decided fireworks were not in the budget; not so the Country Club. This year, things were back to normal. Two shows for one money.
I just didn't feel the call this year.
I will relate to you some of my famous firework memories. High on the list was the night Peter Shieldhouse and I took off in his little Cessna, just at dark on the night of July the 4th. There are a dozen small towns nestled on the West side of the San Joaquin Valley up against the foothills. We made a circle up to the highest foothills, and found at least 6 fireworks shows going on in the valley below. We started at Orange Cove and followed the fireworks all the way around to Woodlake, up to Visalia, and cruised to just outside Fresno, watching show after show at about 2500 feet. Pretty special, that was.
In 1976, we were hanging out at the Watermellon Park Blue Grass Festival.That was special in that Brian Bowers, probably the best auto harp player in the country, took the stage for the first time with the Dillards. Apparently, Mitch or Rodney heard him playing in the parking lot and freaked out. Bryan freaked everybody out, including Mother Maybelle Carter, with his show. Her remark was that she knew one day someone would change the autoharp, as she had changed it in her day. I digress.
We were deciding what to do with our dirty sorry looking selves about 4:00 PM. Nobody wanted to go home. Someone said we should all go to Washington, DC, and watch the Bicentennial fireworks show. Right On!
Off we go and found parking in the Kennedy Center area. I don't know how to this day, but someone scored 2 elevator passes to the top of the Kennedy Center. One of us would go up the elvevator, give the ticket to someone and down they'd go to pass the ticket to someone else until all of us were on the terrace of the Kennedy Center in our old cutoffs, and festival T shirts. Under dressed, to say the least, amongst the elite of DC. WE watched the Bicentennial Fireworks display in the Nation's Capitol from atop the Kennedy Center...I don't know what the Po' folks was doing...but we was stylin', my little friends.
So, this year? I ate shrimp on Jim's porch, listening to friends play music, while all the rest of the crowd took every golf cart they could find down US 129, illegally, I might add, to observe the fireworks.
My 94 year old mother (her Birthday is today, July 6th) came back and announced she would never do THAT again. She asked for a Scotch, easy on the rocks. I guess Mama and I have a love/hate relationship with fireworks. This year we both thought the experience was highly overrated. She said she wished she'd got her a half a pint and stayed in the wagon yard with me.You can learn something at 94!