by Meg Ulrich

No left turns was the title of one of my first columns and I am still reminded of that regularly; not only by others, but by my own futile attempts to navigate in summer traffic in the heart of Old Forge. Here we are, in the NLT season again. It’s almost August, so I guess I’m a lil’ late to the party.
I’m not entirely certain how summer has flown by so quickly and I am in a state of shock and confusion each and every time I have to write the date down. Also, I fear I will become violent if I see another back to school or pumpkin spice reference. Good Lord, people, I’m in the Benny’s milkshakes and can’t find the sunscreen season and I’d prefer if you’d keep your fall foliage and chilly nights references to yourselves. Also, while keeping your ‘I love autumn’ nonsense under your damn hat, order an Ulrich shake at Benny’s; milkshake divinity. You’re welcome.
Tourism is at its summertime peak now; it’s after the Fourth of July and before the NYS Fair, the college kids are still lurking for a few weeks and it has stopped raining for an entire two day period. The people are here visiting and summering and those of us that reside here year-round are…well, we’re working. A lot. We pay a price to live here and that price is accommodating the masses and those masses are usually driving 35 miles per hour on Route 28 when we are trying to do a thing. But, I digress, lest some good natured soul attempt to remind me where my bread is buttered. That would lead me to give directions regarding where the bread and the butter can be placed and, well, I digress again. I double-down-digressed right there.
Now I’m all about sharing the magic of the place we live and all that jazz. If a person wants their seven billion kilowatt spotlight on twenty-four hours a day, so be it. Music and yelling around a very smokey campfire; have at it, my friends. Longer lines and some traffic; I’ve planned for it. But for the love of all that is pure and good, knock it off with the fireworks!
Old Forge and the surrounding communities have more organized, public fireworks displays than any other place in the universe. (Don’t ask me for data on that. People make up data all the time, so I’m just jumping on board for a quick minute.) The sky is lit up with a professional show pretty often around these parts and they’re fun and delightful. Bring a picnic, hear a concert, watch the display. We do the fireworks here. We also love a parade. A good time is had by all!
A good time is not had by all when the visiting Hatfields and McCoys engage themselves in a “who has a bigger kaboom” competition. The local dogs are really not having a good time, which makes all the dog families a little edgy. The people who are not on vacation and are inundated by the whistling, exploding sounds of store-bought fireworks at midnight on a Tuesday are also not having a good time. When my house shakes from the reverberation of what seems to be no less than a bomb, I am not having a good time.
Let’s review. Pretty flashes in the sky set off by a professional that has an appointment to do so—agreeable. Tuesday night fireworks jockeys who selected their wares from a slippery roadside vendor—not so agreeable.
I am considering sending my mother to the homes and camps that house the kaboomers. If you ever want to ruin someone’s questionable good time, an emergency room nurse is a very effective tool. When fireworks are mentioned, my mom’s eyes glaze over a little bit and she’s transported back in time to July Fourth in a city ER. And she will tell you how many burns, blindings and missing digits can come through the door of an emergency department in a single shift. She’s also available for consultation about motorcycles, shallow diving, the importance of safety glasses, trampoline danger, bb guns (you’ll shoot yer eye out, kid) and a host of other potential hazards.
So knock it off with the random fireworks nonsense or I’ll tell my mom on you.