Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I Like a Parade

July 4 on a Wednesday has the happy effect of lightening up the whole week. Even if you go to an office or elsewhere to work on July 2, 3, 5 & 6, it's like a week with two Thursdays and Fridays with a festive Saturday smack in the middle.

We did our best to festivize this year, maybe because we were in Canada last year at this time. At around 10 in the morning, Lilly and Ann and I found ourselves in Arlington Heights, Illinois (because I'd driven to the vicinity), a town about two squares north and one east of where we live -- a knight's move on the suburban board. One of the smaller streets has been designated a Fourth of July parade route and this year, by gar, I wanted to see a parade. Skies were overcast, so it was warm but the Sun wasn't oppressive.

It had everything a suburban parade ought to. High school marching bands, a couple of simple floats, patriotic trappings, club members out marching and in cars, politicos, a grand marshal I'd never heard of, clowns, ads for local businesses, hot rods, flags and candy distribution. The parade route was lined with people, but not vastly crowded like a city parade might be.

Regarding a couple of the members of Illinois legislature who were in the parade: we've sent those guys to Springfield? Can't they at least dress up for an occasion like this, maybe just a little? At least Mark Kirk, the US Rep from the 10th District of Illinois, was more presentable in his coat and tie, and his wife -- probably, female companion at least -- was also dressed for a public event, not a backyard barbecue, though those highish heels couldn't have been too comfortable after a while.

The high school bands brought back some pleasant memories of the parades I was in, namely the San Antonio Fiesta parades from 1976 to 1978. Which were in April, not only because Texas won its independence in April, but also because it would be the height of lunacy to march a few mid-day miles in July in San Antonio. The parade in 1979, which was cancelled because of a sniper, is another story, one I won't dwell on today but which I see isn't referenced in many places on line.

Another high school memory emerged because each of the bands had flag girls with them. People are inclined to gush about high school cheerleaders, who might have their charms, but I recall liking to watch the flag girls a lot more.

There were no Shriners that I noticed. Shriners driving little cars, that is. Years ago in Nashville I watched a parade (I forget what occasion) from my office window, and marveled at the driving skills of the Shriner little-car squad. But the Knights of Columbus had a squad on hand, about a dozen marchers complete with capes and chapeaux, and I noted how none of them looked younger than me, with most considerably older. Maybe the appeal of chapeaux isn't what it used to be among the suburban Catholic.


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