At celebration, raindrops kept falling on my head

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Rain is certainly something we need in this state. Unfortunately, Saturday night's deluge in Greenville couldn't have been more ill-timed for Celebrate America, the patriotic family-friendly event sponsored each year by the Chamber of Commerce and supported by various businesses and individuals.

The burgers had been grilled, the popcorn, popped and lemonade mixed and chilled.

Everything was set up for the games in the Tiger Stadium/Elementary School parking lot and the volunteers were ready.

Alas, it just wasn't to be.

With crooked forks of lightning and claps of thunder overhead, everyone was encouraged to seek shelter wherever they could find it. The event was officially on hold almost before it began.

Luckily, a number of us were able to grab some food - I enjoyed a &#8220burger bag” from the FDA booth - before the raindrops really got rowdy.

Many wore red, white and blue for the patriotic occasion, but it turns out we would have been better off with galoshes and &#8220Gorton fisherman” raingear.

A group of us huddled in the entrance way to the stadium, one of the few places offering shelter from the storm, and tried to make the best of it as tunes blasted from deejay Bill Campbell's speakers.

&#8220I want to put on my-my-my-my boogie shoes, and boogie with youŠ”

Kathy Smyth of Safe Harbor and I sang along with the K.C. and the Sunshine Band song while a smiling gentleman in the parking lot danced to the tune in the rain, holding a big umbrella over his head.

Some tents teetered in the blowing, heavy rain as volunteers hastily covered and moved anything not water-proof.

My camera is one of those things that wasn't waterproof. When I had to make a run back to the front of the old gym to turn off my Jeep lights, I left it behind in a dry spot. I gave thanks I had my trusty red hat on to keep at least one part of me dry.

We kept hoping the bad weather would pass over. After all, a lot of people had put a lot of work and planning into the evening. Six-year-old Andrea Dearden looked up at me and plaintively said, &#8220It WILL stop soon, don't you think?”

By 8 p.m. the storm showed no real signs of letting up.

&#8220We are calling off the games, but the fireworks will go on as scheduled at 9 p.m.,” Francine Wasden, COC director.

Emcee David Norrell encouraged everyone to go home and plan to watch the fireworks from the safety of their homes or cars.

My clothes were soaked, and I had no idea how bad the weather might get out my way. I decided I had better head the 12-plus miles back home, and hope to see a nice fireworks show in 2008.

Cold water dribbled out of the tip of my right shoe and bounced off my ankle as I drove home. Out Honoraville way, wouldn't you know, only a few drops fell. Such is life.

Francine, don't give up hope. Mother Nature can be such a capricious creature.

Let's hope next year the raindrops won't be falling on our heads when Celebrate America time rolls around. Kudos to all those who came, cooked, worked and generally made the best of a less-than-ideal situation.

God bless you - and God bless America!

Angie Long is Lifestyles reporter for The Greenville Advocate. She can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 132 or via email at