Posted tagged ‘parades’

“St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time – a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic.”

March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The day is sunny and beautiful though still chilly. I was out on the deck watching Gracie. She ran with wild abandonment through the backyard. I could hear the crunch of the dead leaves and small branches as she ran. I got cold and went back inside. She stayed out a bit longer. It must have been exhausting as she and Maddie are taking their early afternoon naps.

St. Patrick has always been my favorite saint. I went to St. Patrick’s grammar school, belonged to St. Patrick’s parish, and when I was 10, I started marching in St. Patrick’s Shamrocks, a drill team. I was in the juniors and only had practice Saturday mornings at the armory just beyond Stoneham Square. The armory was a wonderful old brick building. On the first floor were military banners and flags and, in one room, a pool table. Upstairs was a large open room where we practiced. It was smaller than the fields for the summer competitions so we learned our maneuver in pieces which were put together once we got outside on the field. We practiced twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays and, once the season started, some Sunday mornings before we left for the competitions. We also marched in parades, including the St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston. We were naturals as we had a shamrock in the middle of our uniform blouses and between the skirt and blouse was a sash with one bit of yellow, a shamrock. Our colors were green and white. The crowds watching the parade were huge. We got lots of applause.

My parents always celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. Some years they’d have a party, and the house would be filled with people. There was always lots of singing at every one of my parents’ parties especially on St. Patrick’s Day. The kitchen was the party hub. I can still picture my dad and my uncle Jack standing together by the table with an arm on each other’s shoulders as they sang When Irish Eyes are smiling. Their voices were filled with such joy and exuberance. That memory from so long ago is one of my favorites.

“America is a tune. It must be sung together.”

July 4, 2015

I just love birthdays and today is the grandest of them all. Happy Birthday, America.

On July 3rd 1776, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail. In it, he predicted the celebrations for American Independence Day, including the parties:

It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.

The problem was he expected July 2nd to be Independence Day as that was the day the Second Continental Congress voted for independence, but the signing ceremony for the Declaration of Independence didn’t happen until two days later so because July 4th appears on the Declaration, it became the date we celebrate Independence.

I know some people complain that the meaning of the day is lost in the barbecues and the fireworks, but they have forgotten John Adams’ hope. We are celebrating exactly as he wished. Flags are waving everywhere. Families get together to celebrate and to break bread, albeit hot dog rolls. Fireworks illuminate the sky. Baseball is played on small town fields and in huge stadiums. Drums beat the cadence in parades. We sing rousing songs celebrating America and our freedom. We also sing heartfelt songs about what America means to us. We are many sorts of people, we Americans. We don’t all look the same, eat the same foods or dress in the same way, but we all celebrate today and we share a love of country. Happy Birthday, America, from all of us Americans.

“America is a tune. It must be sung together.”

June 30, 2015

This morning I was rudely awakened at 8:30 by the sounds of mowers and saws. I cursed. Come to find out, they were working on my front yard removing the branch which had fallen in that tremendous rain storm, trimming the forsythia and wild roses and blowing my deck clear of leaves and twigs. They also cut off the branches which hung over my umbrella. After they finished, all was quiet except for the birds then a shrill voice broke the silence. It came from next door, the renters ( I almost want to make that word totally capitalized). They have about a 4 year-old girl with the sort of voice which causes chills up and down your back. She’s not quiet, and she yells often. Right now she is crying. The noise forced me inside.

The red spawn has learned a valuable lesson. I didn’t fill the beastie’s favorite feeder so it is forced to use one with wire mesh all around the seed area. When I blasted the feasting beastie with the hose, it couldn’t get out of the mesh fast enough. When I went out on the deck this morning with my papers and coffee, the spawn got out of the feeder and ran. I raised my hands in Rocky type triumph.

What a glorious day it is today. The sun is bright and warm and the sky is blue and beautiful. The slight breeze is cooling.

I have to dress my flamingo in its Uncle Sam outfit for the holiday. It is a star filled blue vest, an Uncle Sam hat and a white beard. Jaunty comes to mind. My Travelocity gnome is always dressed in red, white and blue. He’s a patriotic gnome. I think his name is Henry.

From as long ago as I can remember we celebrated the 4th of July. We always had a barbecue, and we always went to the parade. I love parades with all the music, the floats and the pageantry. Every parade, no matter the length, seems to start and end the same way with police in cars and on motorcycles at the beginning and fire trucks at the end. On July 4th floats and bands, drill teams and drum and bugle corps filled the parade with color and music. Uncle Sam walked the route on stilts. I love July 4th. I’m already making plans!

“Autumn’s the mellow time.”

September 19, 2014

Where are the cheers, the accolades, the parades? This has been my most productive week in a long time. I went off cape one night and was busy every day doing errands and chores. I even paid the dreaded bills. I feel so accomplished.

Fall is so much quieter than summer. Kids are in school so I don’t hear them playing outside any more. The lawns don’t get mowed as much. Nobody is out on their decks at nights. Windows are closed as the nights get downright cold. I always think of this time of year as a dress rehearsal for winter.

Today is dump day, and I need to go to the grocery store for just a few things.

The town where I grew up had a dump, but I never went there. The trash was picked up off the sidewalk by men in big trucks so there wasn’t any need for a dump run. My friend’s house was right near the dump, but it wasn’t what you’d expect living close to the dump because you couldn’t smell it. The dump wasn’t for household trash but for things like fridges and old furniture. The cape has no trash services, no trucks, no men hauling barrels. We all go to the dump or pay for private trash companies. The old dump had giant hills of trash. From the highway you could see the trash hills and the seagulls circling them hoping to find food. From way off you could smell the dump and you could hear the caws of the seagulls, noisy birds. You found a spot and you threw your trash bags. That was my father’s dump. He wouldn’t enjoy going to the dump much now. There are bins for trash and no trash can be loose. There is a huge line of recycle bins. There aren’t any seagulls.

“May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country! “

July 4, 2013

July 4th was always exciting when I was growing up. The next town over had one of the great parades which seemed to last forever filled as it was with bands and floats. We’d go to a house right on the parade route which had a huge porch where we’d all hang out to watch the parade. The table inside was covered with foods like potato salad and hot dogs and burgers and watermelon. Popsicles were in the freezer. It was eat when you’re hungry. At night came the fireworks. We never went that often, but I could see them from my house when they colored the sky high in the air. When I was older and a member of a drill team, I marched in that parade. When we’d get to the white house with the porch, the whole crowd of people would yell my name. I was both embarrassed and pleased. When I was older, my friends and I would go to the fireworks. We’d bring a blanket and some food and stake out a spot right near the water over which the fireworks would burst. We couldn’t help ourselves. The oohs and ahs came out of our mouths almost every time fireworks burst overhead and filled the sky with colors and patterns.

I remember the decorated carriage and bicycle contests held in the morning, before the parade. My sister won the year she was a hula girl. Her  doll carriage was frilled with colored crepe paper looking like a hula skirt.

One year I saw Big Bother Bob Emery at the bandstand near the lake. He was on television every day when I was a little kid. I remember we’d toast President Eisenhower with milk as Hail to the Chief played. Big Brother was a TV icon to me. He’d play his uke and sing The Grass Is Always Greener.

I remember sparklers and how excited we were to have our own fireworks. I’d hold the sparkler as close to the bottom as I could when my father lit the top. I remember how sometimes a spark would land on my hand or arm and how it burned just a little. We’d spin the sparklers and make our own light show. The sparklers made a hissing sound when they burned. We’d each get one at a time and then we could back for more until the boxes were empty.

July 4th seemed to last forever, well into the night, well beyond my usual bedtime.