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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Flat fireworks and stale cereal

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Scattered thoughts, written as the fireworks blasts fade to stillness in the final minutes of Independence Day:

*The Fourth of July. As traditional an American holiday as there is.

I couldn't help reflecting on that as, while walking through the midst of Shelbyville's July 4 observance at Griffin Park, often the predominant language I heard was Spanish.

In recent years Shelbyville's Hispanic population has always seemed drawn to special events at the park. And, honestly, they seem to fit right in with the red, white and blue, at least for a while.

Between Latinos and Somalians, we've become quite a melting pot.

*But I heard several comments of disappointment in the crowd about the short fireworks display.

In all honesty, the only difference between fireworks you can buy and the ones in the park this year is that the park's went higher into the air.

And the park's "celebration" consisted only of a yard sale, dunking booth, gospel sing and a few fund-raiser food booths.

Compared to past years, when Griffin Park was teeming with all types of activities and all-day crowds, this year seemed lean. The carnival, through no fault of the city, was noticeably absent. But the other activities could still have been held.

Even the fireworks crowd, based on the fact I was standing in the middle of it and on exiting traffic flow, seemed smaller than previous years.

The fireworks display, funded by both city and county, has been probably the main event each year which brings all areas of the county together (excepting the Celebration, which we won't count since its real focus is more toward visitors).

If the July 4 celebrations aren't going to be better than what we saw this year, I wonder how much longer it's worth carrying on.

Let's hope it continues. It's been too good a thing to let it slowly fizzle due to apathy.

I'm not criticizing those who were involved with activities and shows. I just think there should be much more going on.

*I also remembered how Dick Poplin frequently wrote of enjoying Shelbyville's annual fireworks.

Tuesdays aren't quite the same at the office since his columns ended. I copyedited his columns -- or more like proofread, in his case, since he wrote so well little was ever changed. But since we put much of each day's editions together the day before, I got to see the columns a day in advance.

Those columns became, at least to me, one of the most interesting elements of the T-G.

His writing style was so descriptive that you could just visualize the farm he grew up on; the farm work and equipment he often mentioned; and 1920s and 1930s Unionville and Shelbyville. Yet he was on top of things in today's world. And his columns on language use and unusual expressions could really make you stop and think.

We welcomed his weekly (or more often) visits to the T-G office. He frequently made positive comments on T-G writers' work and columns, including mine. Those meant a lot, coming from someone with his talent. He will be missed.

*While buying cereal at one of Shelbyville's large chain food stores this week, two workers were removing multiple cartons of old cereal -- as in sell-by dates of February 2006 -- from the shelves.

A regional manager was coming in today and, as one worker said to another, this man gets upset when he finds outdated merchandise on the shelves. They seemed quite concerned about his possible reactions.

I hope that regional manager scours the shelves and, if he finds old goods, takes decisive action.

This particular store is Shelbyville's worst for selling outdated merchandise. I double-check expiration dates on everything I buy there. If the outdated stuff's in front, I reach to the back of the shelf hoping for fresher items -- and, if that's also old, I go elsewhere.

Hopefully the store's LOCAL manager will get the hint. Customers don't deserve or should expect less than what they pay for.

David Melson is a Times-Gazette copy editor/staff writer. Responses welcome: dmelson@t-g.com .

David Melson
On the Loose