Fourth of July on Lake Mitchell

Published 8:23 pm Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Of course, there’s always been a 4th of July on Lake Mitchell, but not until 1970 did it happen as we can appreciate it as we do today.

I always worked very closely with the teenagers, and they never let me down—got me in hot water a few times, but…

The skiers are always eager to show off their boats and frankly were having a problem communicating with most of the population on the lake at the time. First, we formed ourselves into the Lake Mitchell Ski Club. Now, let’s do something positive on the lake: Ski show—July the 4th was coming up—something big—let’s have a parade!

Now, there were permits to obtain. When I asked about permits, they would always ask me in Montgomery, “Who is the responsible party?” I always replied, “Why, the Ski Club, of course,” never hinting that they were all teenagers!

But they were not just teenagers; they were special indeed. With their help, we were able to accomplish so many good things on Lake Mitchell that bring back lots of memories to this ol’ man. I can’t say they all went without a hitch, but it was some journey! The parade expanded to pontoon boats.

The greatest feat of all was when the club wanted to shoot fireworks out over the water! There was a lot of responsibility involved, but they had never let me down before. They would just pool their fireworks—Jim McCormick, Sibley Reynolds, Graham Esdale and Bo Warren were shooting their fireworks and quite a crowd was gathering, but after there had been a couple near misses, they could tell I was beginning to get a little shaky about our deal.

This tells of some of the character they possessed. I was approached by the “chairman” of the committee, and he had volunteered to attend and obtain a Class B certificate qualifying him to stage the event. This young man was Jim McCormick, an outstanding young man that still has his attendants: our own Judge Sibley Reynolds and attorney at law, my buddy Graham Esdale. Together, they give us the biggest and best fireworks anywhere.

Now, they have been known to “pull my leg” a little in the past. I know the real father of this event was “Mr. Mac,” who started it all in his front yard as a family gathering, and—come on guys—I know that he provided us with a lot of firecrackers!

There has to be a better way for the public to help finance this fantastic show over the years. I fear that the cost will soar to the point where one person has to foot most of the cost. Come on folks. Let’s help these guys out. I hope that our charter members are given a little slack over a bunch of years for some things they have done for Lake Mitchell. Keep on Cruisin’.