Sunday, July 5, 2009

Independence Day at Maple View

Chapel Hill's fireworks show did not impress me enough years ago to want to see it again last night. Mom and I instead enjoyed dessert at Maple View Farm, an ice cream store with a perfect countryside view. The store had several hundred customers last night for what we presumed to be a word-of-mouth fireworks show. We decided to wait until sundown.

To pass the time we counted little kids who fell on the few steps leading up to the store and dribbled ice cream all over themselves. Then their daddies brought them clear cups of water to clean, but the kids spilled the water all over as well. A bunch of old guys played bluegrass, Cash and Hank Williams. When the sun set, we saw a few neighboring towns' shows on the tiny edge of the biggest sky Chapel Hill offers. Chapel Hill's own show at Kenan Memorial Stadium barely poked over a few trees.

Several minutes later the farm itself began its own show of fireworks, the most pathetic display I have seen in 25 years. Foomp. Pop. Forty seconds passed. Foomp. Pop. Another long minute. Foomp, foomp. Pop, pop.

"This must be the grand finale," I quipped. We decided leaving would be difficult since people had set up blankets around our car. But we had to do it. We tried to be Southern and polite but could not stop laughing.

Our planned quiet escape failed when I fumbled with the car's key remote in the dark and set off the panic alarm. The 30 or so people in front of the bumper jumped like old folks hearing gunshots at a Broadway play. I tried to find the button to silence the alarm, but the darkness made it nearly impossible. Twenty seconds later the chaos subsided. My car was the loudest damn thing at the whole fireworks show.

We slowly drove away and promised not to hit any children. We will go back on a normal night.

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