July 4 is the biggest day of the year on the Outer Banks. It’s a time of beginnings and endings, a time for seeing people we haven’t seen in a long time, a time for letting go of troubles and grudges, a time to get sunburn and drink too much beer and play volleyball and celebrate the fact that while everybody else has driven hundreds of miles and spent thousands of dollars on a rental house and is stuck with the in-laws for the rest of the week, all any of us have to do is figure out where to park. And no, just because you know me doesn’t mean you can park at the beach house:)
Our 2nd annual volleyball tournament was not quite as raucous and competitive as the first, but we did uphold the tradition of erecting the net in the morning and playing through the afternoon. Last year’s net lasted until the big November nor’easter blew it down. This year, it may last all year long, as we put it up in the vacant lot just south of the beach house, where it will be more protected from the elements.
Every year our neighbors Mike and Terry put on a big potluck party and fireworks show, and everybody shows up to grub and socialize and watch the down-home spectacle. This year the Kitty Hawk Town Council decided to enforce the “no fireworks” law that has been on the books for years, and the cops were patrolling the beach confiscating stashes and handing out fines. The boys had already set up their mortars, and Mike made an announcement saying we all might need to chip in for the fine and maybe come pick him up in jail, but he was going to put the show on regardless. The neighborhood cops came by and stood around for an hour or so, then went down to harass other folks down the beach. The boys knew this would be their only chance, so they lit everything they had all at once. It was like daylight all of a sudden, the sky just ripping open with light and sound. Had no one known better, you’d think we were being bombed. Shrieks of delight from everyone on the beach.