The Dismal Take on July 4, 2014
I remembered how we stood for the playing of the national anthem at the opening of every film at the movie house in Ithaca, New York -- my hometown. I was teary-eyed because I was remembering how united the country was then, and how divided we had become.
The Joyful Take
As I usually do these days, I'll disengage from the dismal big picture and focus instead at how happy my own world is. This fourth of July weekend was an example.
For starters, the weather was unbelievably nice. I can't recall a July weekend in DC as nice. I did without the AC for most of the weekend.
As readers of this blog know, I love my DC Palisades neighborhood. Its tightly-knit, small-town vibe is exemplified by the Palisades Fourth of July parade, which has been voted "the best hometown July 4th parade."
It was started in 1966 by the Palisades Citizens Association and local businesses. It's an old-fashioned affair with kids on bikes, people walking dogs, bands, dancers, engines from the neighborhood fire station, and mini-floats from all over the city. And in an election year like this, most of the major candidates and their contingents also march along.
Anyone can participate in the parade. Nowhere else, I bet, could a viewer get the chance I have to applaud my plumber's truck as it passes by. "The Millwood Mob," residents of one short street in the neighborhood, has marched for decades.
Over the years, the parade has reflected America's increasing acceptance of diversity. The first marching band to appear in the parade was DC's "Different Drummers," the gay / lesbian band. The last contingent traditionally is a group of African Americans riding horses. It seems that another Latino group joins the parade each year.
Members of the Schappi family have watched nearly all 49 parades. The photo above was taken at the parade, and features my granddaughter Jessie and her kids... ergo my great-grandkids. That's Kenzie on the left and Kaylee on the right. Camden, who arrived this past Christmas Eve, is in the middle.
Here they are, all lined up on the curb with me at the end of the row. I won't identify the owner of the stomach and the football jersey.
After the parade, we go back to the house for lunch, and the kids feed the fish:
Also present this year were my daughter, my son and his gal, and my pal Bill Feldman, whose key lime pie invariably gets raves. My son and his gal will join me on Thursday as we fly to Copenhagen for a few days before starting a two-week cruise of Norway's fjords.
With Friends over the July 4th Weekend
On Saturday, I joined my pal David and his 90-year-old father Sam for lunch at the Old Angler's Inn. It was that rare day in a Washington summer: cloudless sky, no humidity, and temperatures in the low 80s. Perfect for the Inn's outdoor patio.
This weekend, the annual convention for the Association of Nepalese in the Americas was held in the Washington suburbs. My housemates Nimesh and Bhawana invited as house guests a delightful couple -- Nimesh's college classmates who now live in Nebraska.
A Reminder for the Future
Continue to do what I've done in this blog post -- pay little attention to the mess the politicians are creating in the world, and focus instead on my family and friends... the people who make my life the joy it is today.