On and Off The Mountain/Stephanie Grubert

The big summer holiday is this week. July 4, Independence Day is on Friday. Mountaintop has a jam-packed weekend of options to celebrate beginning with the annual fireworks display at Wright Township Park on Thursday July 3 at dusk. Nearly all of the other Mountaintop municipalities contribute to the fireworks expenses and the whole town can enjoy the display.

It looks like the weather will be hot and seasonal this week with an occasional shower now and then but mostly the best July weather we look forward to every year. My garden is exploding with growth. There are a few rabbits in the area and I did find the tops of some plants gnawed off, but there seems to be more than enough to go around. I do now have two city cats that are roaming the yard. George the bigger one caught a chipmunk. Maybe she will take a look at the rabbits next. I have to hope for the best. Oh, the challenge of being a front yard gardener.

The July 4th Parade will be held rain or shine on Friday. Organizer Gene Haverlak proudly states that it has never rained on the Mountaintop July 4 parade and this year is right in there. Be ready for the Crestwood High School Marching Band, the scouts, church groups a local business or two and the firetrucks. July 4 in Mountaintop has an enduring parade.

This year’s Grand Marshall is

Joan Malkemes, Wright Township’s Secretary-Treasurer, who has been on the job for more than 40 years. The honor is well earned.

There is an ambitious program at the Wright Municipal Building at the end of the parade with numerous speakers and local dignitaries and America the Beautiful sung by former Wright Township Police Chief Carl Alber of Sundance. Citizens Award Presentations will be extended to Joan Malkemes, longtime Mountaintop business owners Robert and Agnes Rundle, and US army veteran Ray Samolis.

The event is a respectful tribute to the solemnity of our country’s founding 238 years ago. The rest of the day is perfect for picnics, a boat ride, cycling, hiking, and family and neighborhood parties.

The fun doesn’t end on Friday. The Mountaintop Rotary Club’s Steam Train Excursion is Saturday July 5. At press time more than 500 tickets were sold for the once in a lifetime event. I happened to come across the Mountain Top History Book compiled by photographer Joe Kubic, which has lots of pictures of the trains and the stations that ran through Mountaintop from 1900 through the 1950’s. The Fairview Station was located at the site of the current Mountaintop Hose Company No. One at the top of the mountain on Route 437. The tracks for that station are long gone and those abandoned rail beds are part of the Black Diamond Trail, which currently starts In Wright Township past the Glen Summit intersection. The Rotary Steam Train Excursion will leave from the Penobscot rail yards, an intersection for trains going north and south next to 437. Reading about the trains is not the same as riding the rails. The event is sure to be treasured by all who enjoy it for many years to come.

If by some unrealistic chance the July 3 fireworks are rained out, the Mountaintop fireworks will be held on Saturday July 5 at dusk.

The Dicus family landed in Mountaintop Saturday night in time for a late barbecued dinner of hamburgers and hotdogs and potato salad. Those simple foods always taste so good coming from the grill. Charlie and I told them to leave the unpacking until Sunday and we also celebrated Charlie Dicus’ thirteenth birthday with a super rich chocolate cake. There have been so many birthdays since the first one in London in 2001, four months before the World Trade Center disaster. We are grateful to have our Charlie and his brother and sisters with us in Mountain Top every summer.

Our kids go to the Wright Township day camp, a great place for fun every day under the direction of Steve Waskie and his staff. From 10:00 a. m. to 2:00 p. m. there are a variety of fun things going on until August 1.

Now is the time to enjoy the fresh locally grown produce we have in abundance in July. This week we are featuring Broyan’s Farm in Nescopeck with zucchini, pickles, cucumbers, peas, beans, cauliflower and broccoli. Vine ripened tomatoes, potatoes, onions, cantaloupes, watermelons and other fruits and vegetables round out the tempting choices. Until my garden matures, Broyan’s is the place to go on Route 93 in Nescopeck. Lucas Farms in Wilkes-Barre and Shickshinny have lots of fresh veggies, jams, jellies, honey, and pure maple syrup. They are featuring their brand new market in Wilkes Barre. Enjoy a ride to either farm and stock up on the treats of the season.