Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Very Somerville Memorial Day

The parade had already been going awhile by the time Amy and me got back from hiking in the Blue Hills. Broadway and both Teele and Davis Squares were closed for the event, so we had to sneak in the back way...the wrong way down a few one-way get to our neighborhood, then we parked and joined the scattered crowd of townies along the route.

Now, I know a lot of governments like to celebrate national holidays by rolling all their niftiest tanks and missiles through the capitol, but that kinda thing just makes me nervous.

On the other hand, what makes me feel downright patriotic in the least ironic way possible is an event like the Somerville Memorial Day Parade, from the tiny old man playing trumpet in the American Legion marching band and the Sons of Italy color guard hanging out with friends on the sidewalk during pauses in the procession to the young Asian girl marching along stone-faced in minuteman regalia and the black kids and Albanians and Greeks and Lebanese hanging out on the sidewalks in lawn chairs, buying SpongeBob balloons from vendors and firing bubble guns into the soapy musket smoky air.

Ah, but ain’t that America for you and me? Ain’t that America something to see baby? Ain’t that America, home of the free?

Yes, I just spent the afternoon in a John Mellencamp video.

Ooh yeah.

But, really, for me it was all about the Shriners, or whoever those guys in the Aleppo fezzes were, and there were scores of them, possibly hundreds, taking up easily half the parade with their flags and weird Arab trumpet noodling and fake goatees and turbans and their candy-tossing...and forget about tiny little cars: the Somerville Shriners had tiny little 18-wheelers, not to mention tiny golf carts, tiny buggies, pop-wheelie clown cars, horses, horse cars, Segways and a trailer broadcasting a Shriner quartet as they sang “Yankee Doodle went to Baghdad riding in a Humvee” into dangling CB radio handsets.

Given the median age of most of the Shriners seemed to be about 78, I began to worry that someday there would be no one to drive the tiny little cars along future parade routes...but then I started noticing some tattooed hepcats under the occasional fez, so maybe there’s hope.

And ever since this past November, I’m all about Hope.

God Bless The Troops!


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