I went to a conference earlier this summer in MS dedicated to economic development in small towns. There I met a young landscape architect who worked in Vermont for a time, but had returned to his hom state of MS to teach in a college, the name of which I can't remember. Somehow tied up with the Stennis Institute though.
Anyhow, while in Vermont he had worked in Warren, where an architecture firm that focuses on green building is headquartered. He insisted that of possible I should make it up there for the 4th of July parade, because the local engineers, architects, and other folks associated with the firm went nuts and made some great floats.
I convinced everyone in my family except for my father, who wasn't up for 4 hours of driving on the fourth, to come along with me.
We put on our red-white-and-blues, and headed north an hour and a half. My mother headed north 2 hours, and the sisters and brother-in-laws came south a little over an hour. We congregated in the tiny town of Warren, where the parking stretched for miles in both directions from the small main street. The chap in MS got one thing right, the gathering is impressive.
My little girl, dressed in a new dress from her mama, hair done in two ponies the way her mama likes it.
Caspian, a new shirt from his papa, riding on his god-papa's shoulders. His hat was red, I'm not sure where it was at this point.
Grandmaman was the only one who thought to bring a chair.
The Warren parade was not what we were expecting. It turned out to be a very politically minded parade, with floats ranging from pro and anti-Obama, to anti-Cloud technology and pro-pot-legalization. They weren't the engineering brilliance I had my hopes set on, but they were interesting, in some cases. The candy was good, so the kids were very happy.
This lady with her, "Old White Women for Obama" sign was one of the highlights. The float stating, "you are the assassins" with mirrors reflecting the crowd, dead babies and references to drones, pulled by a man dressed as obama in war criminal garb, was the other end of the spectrum.
Nice car. I've lost my understanding of having nice cars like this in places where the streets are covered in poison, aka salt, much of the year.
This float + crowd of sign holders was a bit confusing, but the bikinis were bold.
Giving my kids the broad education they deserve.
You think they're happy? Check out Annaliese's feet.
a.Caitlin an u.Jim, with pooches.
a.Natalie, unrotated picture I stole from my mother's camera.
Waiting for the parade to start.
After the parade the downtown, (read: front of the general store, the town seemed to be only this street,) was blocked off, and a band played on a balcony above the general store while the crowd danced. And they danced. The boy-girl ratio was a bit off; whole bunches of peacock boys with a few sultry ladies.
My sisters. We set ourselves up next to the general store, above the falls, and snacked on whatever provisions the various wandering members of our group brought back.
Alexe loves perusing other locally owned and operated stores. She likes to indulge her jealousy over their locations, shoppers, floor-plans, settings, and the kind of products they have available to them. She really loses it when she sees a produce truck making a delivery; 2 years in, the BTC still can;t get a produce supplier to deliver to their door, Alexe picks it all up herself, until a few weeks ago, in her little blue station wagon. The delivery van purchase was way past due.
After winding down in Warren, and a long period of indecision, a.Natalie decided we were going to caravan to Lake something-er-other a mere 10 miles away. After an hour of winding through the back roads of Vermont, and making a stop at yet another small general store, we came to a very pleasant state park, where everyone else in the state had decided to go for the 4th.
This being an impromptu event, nobody had thought to bring swim suits, but that didn't stop anyone from hopping in, even grandmaman.
The aunties set up a picnic area, c.Nick and miss Jen rented a canoe, and we all swam and snacked and chatted until early evening.
Caspian and u.William reunited.
We went our separate ways sometime before 6, and wrapped the fourth up sitting around a campfire at the cabin.
We live in a great country. The population may be spoiled, the powers that run the political and financial systems may be self interested and short sighted, but the inertia of this place continues to provide most of us with a very lucky and blessed life.