In honor of Miriam's first 4th of July in America, she and I walked into town Friday morning to find some sparklers.
Middlebury is a small town, and I knew that a lot of stores would be closed for the holiday. Sure enough, my first bet for minor fireworks, Ben Franklin, was not open. It's too bad, because that store is so intriguing to me. It's like a freak hybrid conglomeration of Target, Michael's, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Payless, and the dollar store, but not equal as a whole in either size or selection to any of the above. (If any of you grew up in the Cedar Mill area of Portland, it reminds me of Rogers that used to be next to the library.) At first, I wrote it off as a Middlebury novelty, but judging from the website, it's some kind of national chain. Weird.
So we pressed on to what was, in my opinion, the next most likely store to both be open and to have sparklers: Shaw's. This is a local-ish supermarket chain and I figured they'd have some kind of special display for small-time fireworks. And they did - but it was cleaned out of sparklers. One thing I love about Middlebury is that strangers aren't afraid to talk to each other. So when I asked a cashier where I could find some sparklers, a few bystanders chipped in before she could answer and told me to try Greg's Meat Market.
However, Greg's Meat Market was farther away than I was feeling like walking, so we tried Kinney Drugs next. Open, with no sparklers - no fireworks at all, in fact - but there were more helpful strangers telling me that Greg's Meat Market would definitely have them.
Greg's Meat Market, while technically within walking distance, was in another corner of town in the opposite direction of campus. So I told Miriam we'd find some sparklers later and we headed home.
I get the feeling that if I was a Middlebury native, I would have somehow known intuitively that Greg's Meat Market was the place to find sparklers on the 4th of July. As it is, I still haven't been there - Jeremy ran down there later in the day and saved our 4th of July celebration by purchasing sparklers and snakes. But now I know, and knowing is half the battle.