Saturday, September 24, 2005
leaving our wholesome food shopping experience we discovered that a parade had formed, making egress from the parking lot impossible. last week the town celebrated its 276th anniversary, but somebody spotted a raindrop and the parade was postponed. it wasn't bad at all last week but admittedly today is perfect early fall weather. it was funny seeing the backup of traffic in the parking lot. with many people on their cellphones, presumably because this delay would push everything else in the day off schedule. the parade proved itself a decidedly small town affair. a minuteman group led, fifing and drumming along: that's our New England necessity. the high school band with a squadron of cheerleaders (go Buccaneers! go Blue and White!) almost got funky with teh rhythm section. a nearly anonymous crew turned out to be American Legion. those three musical entities were the entertainment portion of the parade. well wait, a handful of martial arts types, dressed in protective gear, were whacking each other with sticks. I don't know to what organization they belonged. there was in fact no organization, it was a free for all. hey dad, I wanna join that group!!! the karate school to which Erin belongs also made an appearance. they were much better organized. you see below one of the teachers and 2 hotshot youngsters in mid flight. Erin didn't march this year, he's at a Magic Tournament. in the bustle of my youth I marched with the Cub and Boy Scouts; we had to march in step. some football and soccer groups brought the parade to an end. these last groups were inspired to throw candy to the crowd. or that was the original concept. what they did in fact was toss the candy to the side of the road then race after it. haha, I managed to collect 2 rolls of Smarties. which madeleinely back to me a fond memory of a parade in Townsend, Mass, where my grandmother lived. girls on one float were tossing pieces of cake wrapped in napkins. which struck me as absolutely wonderful. I was young enough to figure this occurred at all parades. it could well be that today was the only 2nd time that I received such a gift at a parade. always kept hoping, tho... speaking of Townsend, my memory of the town is as of Mayberry. everyone knew each other. my grandmother ran a small store across the street from the town swimming hole. a river ran thru, partly dammed, and there was a park, with a bandstand. every saturday night during the summer there'd be a chicken barbecue and a band concert. you can just imagine Andy and Opie milling thru that crowd. the VFW maintained it all, the swimming area, the barbecue, the bandstand. it was a living community undertaking. several years ago Beth and I were coming home from western Mass and passing by the swimming hole we stopped. well I knew the store was long gone, it was now simply a home, but jeez: the river was gone. just gone, as was the bandstand. vanity of vanities, maya, holy shit! today's parade was a plucky attempt to see the town as a community. I suspect that if you really want a sense of community, hope for a disaster to force people into that light. enough reasons to band together exist as it is, but we need a more dire sense of drama to kick out the jams. war in Iraq, and elsewhere, is still painted as a necessity, with acceptable loss. yeah yeah, support our troops, blah blah. the recent acts of god and of bureaucrats inspires earnest efforts of aid and focussed feelings of dismay, whereas war is an intellectual concept, too many for most of us. I am in a state of wicked anxiousness right now, a lot because of the out of control country in which I live. we need community, not networks. okay, sorry to go boring here.