Friday, July 04, 2014

Cool Considerate Weather

The Oaklyn 4th of July Parade was late, as always. It was cloudy, very windy, and surprisingly cool, barely in the 70s, when I headed out around 10:30. Even as I rode my bike the two blocks to West Clinton, the clouds burst, and it started showering. Rose waved me across the street, in front of the billiards supply store, where she, Craig, Khai, and Jodie were standing. Khai was happily chasing neighborhood kids around under the dinosaur umbrella he got for his birthday.

The Parade finally started a few minutes after I arrived. Shortly after it got underway, the shower slowed down, then ended. The theme this year was "Oaklyn Gives Back," featuring local non-profit organizations like Oaklyn's food bank. Phillies Phatties, the pizza parlor on West Clinton, had a well-decorated mini RV and someone dressed as their mascot, a walking pizza slice. The Food Bank had a float with shelves showing off their wares. And every softball and baseball team in town, as well as a roller hockey team and a cheerleading squad, threw candy for the kids.

While I did follow the crowds to the Oaklyn School for the announcement of the awards, I didn't stick around after that. I skipped the free hot dogs and long lines in favor of the chicken salad I made yesterday. I didn't really have the time for the freebies, anyway. I had to work at noon.

The Acme was a mess all afternoon. In addition to it being a holiday, it's also the beginning of the month. Not to mention, this is probably the only day a lot of people can shop this week. We had down-the-store lines for most of the day. I was grateful I was able to hurry out at 4 with no relief.

I ran 4th of July or American history-themed cartoons as I changed, both earlier in the day after the parade and when I got home. Bugs Bunny takes on Hessian soldier Yosemite Sam with lots of wisecracks and very big cannons in "Bunker Hill Bunny." The Pink Panther has to deliver the news of independence to the people of Philadelphia on the back of a Red Coat horse in "Pinky Doodle." Donald Duck's 4th of July fireworks picnic with Daisy doesn't turn out quite the way he planned, thanks to a recalcitrant blanket and chairs that won't open, in "Donald's Failed Fourth." Popeye tries to keep his nephews away from the fireworks and show them how to have a safe holiday in "Patriotic Popeye." Walter Lanz and his animators gives us several "Hysterical Highspots In American History," including what Columbus really sighted when he first came to America and two sisters who would do anything for men in any era. Jerry is "The Yankee Doodle Mouse" when he defends his "cat raid shelter" from Tom in their first short to win an Oscar.

Pulled my Chocolate Cookies and Cream Pudding Pie out of the fridge and headed to Dad's around 5 for his party. By then, the clouds were rapidly vanishing, though the wind remained and the air was still cool. Jodie had just pulled out the barbecue burgers and hot dogs when I arrived. There were also sliced tomatoes topped with real mozzarella and glazed with Italian dressing, a pretty basic green salad,  grilled asparagus, macaroni salad, hot poppers (for those who could handle them), and a meat and cheese tray and star-shaped watermelon slices outside by the pool.

I hopped into the pool after dinner. Much to my surprise, the pool itself was warm, probably in the 80s. It was the air that was cold. The sun had come out, but the wind was still chilly. Though some of the kids were still swimming around, it was too much for me. I wasn't even in the pool a half-hour.

The desserts were mainly pies or fruit-based. In addition to my pudding pie, there was sliced pound cake with fruit that Rose brought, a bowl of cut-up fruit, and a lemon meringue pie from the Acme. I tried the lemon meringue pie. I've sold it enough. Ugh! It was awful. Bland crust, gooey lemon filling that tasted mildly of olives, for some reason. Rose's fruit and pound cake was much better.

I finally caught a ride home with Mark and Vanessa around 7:30, then finished 1776 while I changed into dry clothes. This ended up being a really enjoyable take on American history, and probably one of the few genuinely good movies on the American Revolution. There's some really well-done music. In addition to "He Plays the Violin" for Thomas Jefferson's wife Martha, we have a truly stirring number for the delegate from South Carolina describing the selling of slaves and how the Colonies profit, "Molasses to Rum," the heartbreaking "Mama Look Sharp" for the young man who brings General Washington's dispatches as he describes the Battle of Lexington, and John and Abilgail Adams' ongoing duet, "Til Then."

While not all of this is historically accurate (for instance, most of the delegates signed in August, rather than on July 4th), it's an improvement over the composer biographies for its warts-and-all portrayal of people whose lives seem considerably less bland than in history textbooks. Perfect 4th of July viewing, or for fans of the big epic musicals of the 60s and early 70s, or for families with older kids who are just starting to learn about American history.

I threw on a sweater, packed my flannel checked blanket, and headed to Newton River Park around 8:30. The new blacktop (parking lot?) was nearly done but not quite. Everyone had to stumble around plastic fencing that kept nothing out. This time, I plopped down in the middle of a field and watched the kids chase each other around with glowing lightsaber-like swords, butterfly-shaped wands, and light-up laser guns until the fireworks began at 9:15.

They were absolutely gorgeous this year. By 9:30, the clouds were gone entirely, and though it was still windy, it wasn't as bad as earlier. I especially loved the shaped ones. There was a gold one shaped like a flower, a heart-shaped one, and one that had three rings inside each other.

I had the same problems getting home that I did last year. Even leaving during the finale didn't stop me from running into a long line of traffic on the White Horse Pike. Thankfully, I was able to cross over with two teenagers when someone was nice enough to stop for us and make it back to Manor unscathed.

I don't often go for walks at night. Maybe I should more often. Manor is lovely and calm after the fireworks on the 4th of July. Most people are walking home or stuck in traffic or at the Shore or heading to bed. It was just me, the wind, and the amateur fireworks going off all around me. I saw one more gold, sparkling firework over the train tracks to cap off my day as I turned onto the path across the front yard.

I hope that all of you had an equally fun, stirring, and not too hot 4th of July (and that our neighbors to the north enjoyed their Canada Day on the 1st).

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