Donald gets the smoke

With that kind of weekend, can you blame me for completely forgetting I had jury duty today? Luckily, I've lived in Atlantic County long enough that there were people in the jury pool who know me, heard my name when they called it, had an inkling I may have spaced on this, and were able to summon me on the blackberry. And, luckily, I had already finished my breakfast at Annette's with my brother, so nothing interrupted there, and was able to get over to the courthouse in time to put my time in and get excused for various reasons, not least of which being that I've lived in Atlantic County long enough so that the odds that I know a plaintiff or two are startlingly high. A beach day of some sort was salvaged, my civic duty done.

In any case, what a weekend. Friday was clearly the designated holiday for most people, and Absecon Island seemed to be completely overrun with people, traffic totally backed up, so that it seemed possibly not another person could get over another bridge. Beaches were crowded and unusually filled with smokers, for some reason. Today still felt a bit festive, but mostly, people were back to work. The weekend was monster, weather wise, Friday and Saturday land-breeze hot, tho the water temp dropped to the mid 60s. Sunday, with beach time shortened by the second year of epic Wimbledon men's finals, was quite lovely, with the breeze flowing out from the ocean again. And I do still feel bad for Andy Roddick.

 As for the fireworks, I had a great view from the D Dock of the Farley State Marina of the Fireworks at the Borgata. There was a breeze blowing, which at the end, I noticed was blowing the smoke directly over the Trump Marina. A little bit like me on the beach on Friday, downwind from the smokers. (That's a photo of the fireworks aftermath). Poor Donald. He just cannot get a break. I have a feeling if anyone booked over there expecting to see fireworks from their room, they probably got only the smoke. Then again, Borgata and Harrahs are overshadowing the ailing Trump Marina in many ways, and this seemed very emblematic. Borgata and Harrah's bring us the fireworks, Trump Marina gets the smoke. The fireworks were huge, but featured some dubious narrative arcs, including lots of smiley faces and hearts. Me, I'm not one for literal-ness in my fireworks display. But I'm sure smiley-face people liked it just fine.

Missing this year, of course, were fireworks from the Bernie Robbins Stadium, because the minor league Surf baseball team folded in the off season.  People in Ventnor bragged of standing on the boardwalk and seeing fireworks from three towns: Margate, Ocean City and Atlantic City. The view from the Longport causeway had a similarly-cool multi-municipality firework vantage point.

 To my way of thinking, there's still nothing better than the old fireworks that were launched from a barge in the ocean out a ways from Atlantic City. The contrast in sight and sound of the sand and the waves, the stars and the sky, and the fireworks, was truly awesome. And of course, every year I think about that one year in Atlantic City when the barge caught fire after the fireworks display. I was a fairly new mom then, but still a reporter, and I looked at that little fire out on the barge and thought, "Hmmm, that's weird. I guess it's a fire on the barge." And then I took my daughter home and put her to bed. And didn't give it much more thought until the next morning, when I turned on the television, and to my horror, the fireworks barge fire in Atlantic City was the lead story on the Today show, no thanks to me. My friend Brendan Shur of the Associated Press, at the time, had hopped on her bicycle and got the story big time. This troubled me for many years. How could I have looked at that fire and not ditched my kid, jumped on my bike and gotten the story that night? But you know, now, I look back and think, ok, so for once, the mom instincts truly and totally overwhelmed the reporter instinct in me. It can happen. So sue me. Just don't ask me to sit on my own jury.