Monday, July 8, 2019

Girls too can be trustworthy, loyal, helpful ...

Felicia Pace, center, of Troop 64, marches in Northbrook’s Fourth of July parade. At left is Drew Sheedy.

     Victor Hugo never wrote, “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”
     What the author of “Les Miserables” and “Hunchback of Notre Dame” actually wrote, in French, was, “On résiste a l’invasion des armées; on ne résiste pas a l’invasion des idées.”
     Or, translated into English: “One can resist the invasion of armies but not the invasion of ideas.”
     Which not only doesn’t sound as good; it isn’t even true. One can resist ideas whose time has come. And millions do, for years, as they are dragged screaming and tweeting into the modern world.
     In fact, that might be handy shorthand for grasping what is going on today around the globe: some embrace ideas whose time has come. And some resist with all their might.
     Until change occurs, as change must, and most people ... shrug and move on.
     My wife and I took our folding chairs to Northbrook’s Fourth of July Parade last Thursday. A low-key affair. Cops on bikes. Fire trucks. Veterans marching as the crowd stood and clapped. The high school band. A division of the Shannon Rovers and the Jesse White Tumblers. Youth sports teams.
     And the Boy Scouts, whoops, Scouts BSA, which this year began permitting girls to make lanyards, learn how to pass axes safely and march in small town parades.

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  1. Neil, your accompanying photo of the boy and girl from Troop 64 is mesmerizing. Everything about it conjures up a Normal Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover. You're not only an outstanding wordsmith but a photographic artist as well!

    1. Thanks John, but mere luck. Fired that shot off, sitting in a chair, dog in my lap. I suppose the art is in choosing it over 10 other frames, and cropping.

  2. So you took your folding chairs to Northbrook’s Fourth of July Parade last Thursday? How early did you have to get there? I well remember last year's comments on the "dibs" phenomenon at parades and festivals and similar events.

    We both know, all too well, that you can't just "show up" have to stake your claim, and depending on the venue, you can either walk away until start time, or you have to occupy your "turf"...and woe to those who try to poach or move your "markers." I remember an incident of that sort that ended in a Ravinia Park.

    The biggest parades require squatting and camping out for days on the sidewalks...think Pasadena and the Rose Bowl parade. My wife's relatives are going to be driving their Model A and Model T Fords in Canton's NFL Hall of Fame festivities next month, but when I learned that I would have to set up my chairs at least a day early, and stay in them, I declined the invitation. Hope you had an easier time of it. Sounds like your event was like the one in our own neighborhood...low-key, laid-back, and fun.

  3. Of course you can (just "show up.") Staking turf is for control freaks, anal retentives, and advantage maximizers. At 2:10 p.m. my wife and I looked at each other. I said, "We'd better get going." We walked into the garage, dug out the chairs, walked the ... block to the parade route, found a spot in the gap between two groups who staked out their claim three days ago, and settled in.

  4. There are parades and then there are parades. I no longer do St. Patrick's Day (drunks, weather, overcrowded transit), but for our second-biggest parade, on a Saturday in June, we travel across town three hours early so that I can park a block away, set up our table and chairs in the shade, and enjoy a leisurely breakfast while waiting for the noon start time. Been doing that for twenty years now, mostly for the parking and the shade, not because of the parade's pretty much the same every summer, and to be honest, it's getting rather stale.

    But more and more people are doing the same thing now, in order to "control their destiny"...which means more and more early-birds every year, mostly neighborhood folks who want to stake out enough space for extended families of up to forty or fifty.The crowds along the half-mile parde route are now topping an estimated figure of 80,000 spectators, in a park of probably no more than ten acres (Wade Oval, where all the museums are).

    We've been going through this routine for twenty years, because we know that if we try to show up an hour before the parade, we won't get within a mile of it, and would be returning home. Either I "maximize my advantage"...or stop going entirely. It is what it is. After having a half-dozen boisterous brats literally knocking food out of my hand last month, and ending up in my lap while tossing a football around, I'm beginning to think about the latter course of action. All streaks eventually have to end.


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