July 5, 2013

A Pause in the Alaska Cruise Story While I Celebrate the Fourth at Our Palisades Parade

This year, I turned the camera over to my housemate Nimesh, a much better photographer. It was his first Palisades parade and -- as you'll see -- he got some great shots. He also showed me how to change the way the photos are formatted. Now if you click on the photo, you'll get a nice enlargement. In the unlikely event you're as computer-challenged as I am and need this added advice, click the x in the black box at the upper right corner to get back to the blog. 

#   #   #   #   # 

I celebrated the Fourth of July the same way I have for many, many years. You may know that I love my D.C. Palisades neighborhood. It's like living in a small town, but the White House is only a quick 15-minute drive away . . . in non-rush hour traffic, that is.

I could venture down to the Mall and watch the big parade with the big bands and floats. But I prefer our hokey small-town Palisades parade. This is its 47th year; I've lived in the Palisades over 50 years.

I've probably watched 40 of those 47 parades. In recent years, family and friends have gathered at the house. Then we walk three blocks down the hill to the parade:

MacArthur Boulevard, our main street, is lined with people waiting for the parade to start:

Including my gang:

The parade always starts with our DC police chief, currently the much-admired Cathy Lanier.

One of the things I love most about the parade is seeing all the excited neighborhood kids watching the parade . . .

. . . and  participating in it:

I asked this guy for a flag. He answered very politely but firmly, "My dad said I should only give the flags to children."

DC Mayor Vincent Gray led off the political contingents.

He was followed by several DC Council Members, each with his or her contingent of supporters. These groups were especially large for members who have already announced that they'll be running for mayor next year. My candidate, councilman-at-large David Catania, has yet to announce.

I didn't get a photo, but the crowd's loudest applause went to Eleanor Holmes Norton, our longtime delegate to Congress. She can't vote, and every year we have several groups in the parade backing statehood for DC or protesting "taxation without representation." And every year Congress ignores our pleas.

Here's Miss District of Columbia, 2013:

And here's Miss District of Columbia for 2025:

Even after watching the parade for more than four decades, I still enjoy it:

Every year, one of the largest contingents in the parade is the Millwood Lane Mob. Millwood Lane is only one block long, but it looks like everybody on the block comes out to march.

The Palisades Village group, patterned on Boston's Beacon Hill Village model, is made up of Palisaders who help our seniors who want to "age in place" by driving them to doctors' appointments, doing grocery shopping, etc. The Beacon Hill group started in 2002. Ten years later, there were over 70 similar groups around the country. Our Village started in 2007.

Key School, the Palisades' public elementary school, is rated one of the best in the city. The very involved Key School parents will tell you "it is the best."

Years ago when I was married and closeted, I was stunned to see marching down our boulevard the "DC Different Drummers," the city's gay/lesbian band. Gays weren't accepted back then as they are now. But the Palisades enthusiastically welcomed the band, especially since they were the only marching band in the parade. They've returned every year since.

These bagpipers are always enthusiastically greeted by the crowd:

The parade now features colorful Asian and Hispanic groups, highlighting our increasing diversity:

A bottle of water is always welcome if you're marching, and wearing a heavy costume, in Washington's July heat and humidity.

Let's not forget the dogs, walking and watching:

You don't have to be part of an organized group to participate in the parade. RubberAss, for instance, bikes and plays the piano:

Our neighborhood Safeway and gas station participate in the parade. So do these guys, whom I use during my annual efforts to unload some of the junk that's accumulated in the house through the decades.

The parade traditionally ends with the mounted United Horsemen, who today, of course, include horsewomen.

I regret we don't have a shot of the Palisades Community Church group and its terrific "Pastor Jeff." Nimesh was probably preoccupied taking photos of the kids. But he did take several photos of the church's office manager, Bhawana, who happens to be his wife. I hope one day they'll have kids marching in the parade.

But we 'll wrap up the parade pics with these two shots:

After the parade, we climb back up the hill -- steeper each year -- for air conditioning, chairs, and lunch.

Dig in!


Tommye Grant said...

Great photos. There were also great Palisades groups such as the Palisades-Georgetown Lions Club, Our Lady of Victory School and Parish and the Free Masons. The Listserv also marched to celebrate its 10th year in operation.

gleeson1929 said...

Nimesh took a nice photo of the Listserv Lady. I usually don't do a blog post over the weekend, but there are so many good shots I didn't use, I may do another post of the "best of the rest" -- John

janinsanfran said...

Saw most of the same photos at James Fallows" Atlantic blog: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/07/independence-day-in-dc/277540/

Clearly this parade is the place to be. But you got the pic of the pompomed poodle!

Tommye Grant said...

I look forward, thanks! FYI - I am the Listserv lady!

James F. Gleason said...

John, Thanks for taking us on the parade. No caption was needed to pick you out of the crowd. Even the photo taken from your rear with your hands clasped behind your back,,,I think that is in the family's genes. Jim