Last night was surreal. The strangeness was accented by how perfect the day had been.
The day of July 4 was glorious! the weather was sunny and warm, and the sky was scrubbed bright blue from Wednesday night’s rainstorm. The air was sweet and clean. Ron and I went to Sheila and Bill Martin’s house in Arden where we loaded the car with treasures. Sheila’s mother was a collector, and Sheila is an artist and collector herself. Many of the things she finds, she uses to create one-of-a-kind dolls and animals. Her grown children recently dropped the ax on her on their last visit. They wanted none of this old stuff, and her stash would be taken to the dump on her demise. She had better get busy and trim her collection. We had recently brought a carload of her stuff to Chifferobe to sell for her, and some has already flown out the door. Ron and Bill carefully packed the car with more colorful, lovingly-worn vintage pieces.
After leaving there, we went to Charlie and Paul’s house in Black Mt. They bought the charming stone cottage from our mutual friend, Elizabeth Kirk, another inveterate collector with a sharp and discerning eye. When she moved to Highland Farms she could take only a fraction of her collection to her cozy apartment, so she left her antique treasure trove to them. Charlie led us down to the basement which was crammed with amazing primitive furniture, my favorite! Many pieces still boasted their tags from the Brunk Auction, a prestigious auction house in Asheville. While the guys are not sure yet what they will use and what they will sell at Chifferobe, I was overwhelmed with what they have.
Then my friend Suzy Miles showed us which of her beautiful things she would be selling at Chifferobe. Her house is another treasure trove of carefully curated stuff.
Abby and my grandkids brought me fabulous, thoughtful gifts for my birthday, and we gorged ourselves at a fun cook-out. Now all that was left to complete a perfect day was to go downtown to enjoy the Black Mountain fireworks spectacular. Just as we finished cleaning up, though, we heard a loud clap of thunder and the skies opened up. We hoped the rain would move on quickly, but it didn’t. Wave after wave of storms rolled in.
My son Natty and sweet Kate called from town, though, and told us to come on down. There were people everywhere and surely the fireworks would start soon. We jumped in the car and raced to Cherry St. where we found a parking spot right away. As this never happens, we suspected that something strange was going on. The street was packed with people strolling and jamming all the restaurants and bars that were open. The street was as full as a typical Holly Jolly, except everyone was soaked to the skin. The darkened streets were crammed with happy individuals who seemed not to notice that it was pouring, that there was frequent lightening, and that the specter of fireworks was fast disappearing.
We made our way to Louisa’s where we hoped to find Natty and Kate, but by the time we got there, we too were drenched. The parking lot was crowded with kids playing corn hole, groups of friends chatting, and people lined up to buy drinks or Mexican food from Ole’s food truck. We spotted Natty on the crowded porch, and we squeezed into the crowd. Everything and everyone were wet. Hair was dripping, and everyone’s clothing was translucent and clinging. One woman with dripping hair walked up onto the porch trying to smoke a wet cigarette. Cameras flashed as many people took selfies and photos of wet people. It was dark, but the rain was getting harder.
I felt as if I were the only person who noticed that I was cold and unhappy, sort on an Emperor’s New Clothes experience. The rain got even heavier as more lightening and thunder moved in, but most people seemed oblivious as they played and laughed in the parking lot. We heard a loud clap and realized that the fireworks had started. We got excited that it was all going to be fine, but after two rockets had spluttered out, the fireworks stopped. We decided to call it quits and waded through puddles on the way back to the car. The streets were still full and most people looked delighted. I wished that happy crowds like this were the norm in Black Mountain instead the exception. Can I freeze this night and save it for a rainy day, I wondered.
This morning we learned that later last night, the fireworks were fired off quickly, one after the other. I hope that the happy crowds were still partying in town because it would be such a waste if fireworks went off for a deserted audience.