Friday, July 5, 2013

A Small Town Fourth of July

Although I loved living in London and there are times when I miss it desperately, more often I am thrilled to be home. Yesterday was one of those days. The English, for obvious reasons, do not recognize the 4th as a holiday of any kind. In fact, most years I had to work on that date. I never let it pass without some small celebration, but it never felt quite right. For the first time since 1999, I was able to celebrate the 4th as it should be done.

The best celebrations are those that take place in a small town. My town is small by any definition, even with the influx of the summer visitors. But, it certainly knows how to throw a party, especially around Independence Day. People come from all over the area to see our parade. I hope these photos do justice to just how wonderful and just how much fun it was.

The great thing about this parade is that simply anyone can participate. Every year, Isabelle and Mikey decorate their bikes and take part. Here they are, in all their glory, with their two grandmothers. Once the parade started, Lynn and I grabbed a spot on the route to take some photos of the early floats.

Bethany Beach is a thriving metropolis compared to the even smaller town where I was raised and where Mom and Lynn still live. Our town is called South Bethany (you'll never guess where it's located) and this was our float. The lifeguard stands are iconic. When they appear on the beach, you know that summer is right around the corner.

Some of our senior citizens dressed up as flowers in a garden and helped to lead off the festivities. This guy was my favorite; plus he didn't shy away from my camera!

It's not a parade without bagpipes playing American standards!

What's a parade without some good, old-fashioned advertising? This is America, after all.

We live at the beach. You can't have any kind of celebration without a can of Old Bay!  The building behind him is the restaurant where I work.

What's a parade without a juggler?

These guys were great. They played one song after another that everyone knew. They always finished to great applause.

There is a large military community in our town as we have a National Guard station. I love it when they come into the restaurant. They are all unfailingly polite and, more importantly, they tip well!

Here it is. The beginning of the bike pack. I waited with great anticipation for my family to come by.

Not all the kids choose to ride bikes. Some ride scooters and some drive.

Here they are! At this point, I joined the group and we walked the parade route. It is amazingly fun to be in a parade, especially in a small town. Everyone is cheering and waving, be it hands or flags. Several times, I stopped along the route to talk to people I know. The parade moves so slowly that catching up with the crew was not an issue.

Once the parade ends, it is time for lunch. The 4th is not a time to eat healthy food. One must eat chicken fingers, beach fries and drink soda. It's a rule.

While we were sitting and having lunch, a bird pooped on Nana. Poor Nana! We all reminded her that it is meant to be good luck, but I don't think Nana was really seeing it that way. She did manage to laugh at it, but yuck.

Ironically, I had to work this 4th as well. However, the restaurant is only a block away from where the town sets off its fireworks every year. As soon as we heard the first boom, all of us ran outside to watch. Luckily, there were only a few customers left and they came out with us as well. They were simply amazing and went on for quite a while. It was the perfect way to end my first 4th in a long time.


  1. This was just lovely. I've been to big city celebrations and small town celebrations, and you're right -- the small town festivities are the best.

    1. For some reason, this comment ended up in my spam folder. Odd.

      Anyway, thanks for coming by and commenting! I had the most wonderful time.

  2. Cuteness! So much cuteness it's hard to deal with. I thought all small town parades would be the same, but apparently not. You have bagpipers! (But no bellydancer).

    Glad you had a good Fourth! I saw no fireworks this year but I sure heard them. It occurred to me at some point if LA was getting bombed or something, I would have no way of knowing because of all the noise.

    1. You have a belly dancer? Jealous. Will have to suggest it for next year...

      I am crazy about fireworks -- they are among my favorite things. The ones this year have been universally acknowledged as the best ever. I like to think it's because they knew I was home.


  3. I want to visit on the 4th next year! It looks like great fun, and gorgeous weather. So pleased you had such a wonderful time with your lovely family. Xx

    1. You are always welcome, you know that. Come next year. It is a great time to visit!


  4. Quoting you : "They are all unfailingly polite". I keep noticing than less than 5 % of men open the doors for ladies. Regardless of age...

    Hi Chris ! (Yes, I'm part of that 5 %) Over here in Canada, it is the first of July. As I was relatively resting with one of my friends on her 7th storey balcony that night, we saw a few fireworks...but they were quite far away !

    Nice parade ! And shame on me ! I live in Montreal, we have a MASSIVE number of fireworks this summer and...I don't go ! Hum, I can see your face LOL