posts tagged with 'parade'

our tiny Patriots Day celebrity

The Bedford parade and pole capping feels like months ago now: we've been through like two seasons since then. But it was really only a couple weeks, so I'm not too late in posting this collection of images that the Bedford Citizen collected. Or only a little bit too late: I had the link open in a tab for a couple days before I managed to actually look at it this evening, mainly to see if the boys and I made it into any photos. Sure enough, there we are on page 8, top right-hand corner. There are lots of very pretty photos to see in that document; ours, sadly, is not one of them. But at least it shows we were there!

As it happens, so were a great many other people, many of them kids. Why did they pick us to single out—with a not-technically-accomplished photograph, no less?! Is it just because we're locally famous for getting around town on a ridiculous bicycle? Was it Lijah's tiger pajamas? Realistically, it was probably Zion's musket that did it; nobody else thought to bring their guns to town this year. On the next page the only kid in attendance wearing ear protection also gets a photo, so it could be they were looking for uniqueness rather than beauty. And there's no denying we're unique! Sometimes even more than I'd like... but mostly I'm just proud. There are worse things than having people pay attention to you as a result of your strange life choices.

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April makes Patriots of us all

Hot on the heels of Easter, Monday was Patriots Day. We hardly had time to recover—didn't have time, in fact, but we couldn't stop and rest: there was a parade to go to! Unlike last year we didn't make a big thing of inviting lots of folks to join us in biking and picnicking and watching, but we did mention it in passing; and such was the success of last years event that we had plenty of company again this year. Including Lijah, enjoying his first Patriots Day parade since his first one!

Lijah waving a flag along the parade route

Patriot boy

Our ride up was almost a perfect success, with the children 7 and up leading out at a blistering pace and two new riders—kindergarten and pre-K—making their longest effort to date. Unfortunately one of them (it was Julen) wrecked mere yards from our destination and busted his lip, but his enthusiasm was only dimmed for half an hour or so. It did kind of spoil his appreciation of our picnic lunch though! There was lots of food to delight the rest of us, and he did manage a popsicle.

Harvey, Zion, Lucy, and Clara picnicing on the green

plentiful pre-parade picnic

After some energetic freeze tag—why do I always have to be it?!—we headed over to our traditional viewing spot. I don't think we were ever all there at the same time, but if you total us all up there were 23 people associated with our party, spanning three generations (six of the kids had grandparents present!). Never mind the giant picnic, we needed slush to ease our wait (Nathan needed fried dough).

our big crowd sitting on (and behind) the curb

we all love a parade

Then we watched the parade. It's a big one. I've long realized that all my parade photos over the years look pretty much the same, so I eased up considerably on the photography. Still, there are some sights I just had to capture.

Lexington minutemen marching

marching

Last year's parade friends were more peripherally interested in the proceedings—this year I was sitting next to friends who enjoy parades as much as I do (and who were attending in Lexington for the first time) so we watched and commented with keen attention. It was lovely. And long... we were all sated with excitement and ready to head home when the last tank finally rolled past.

The ride home went just as well as the ride up. Julen, recovered in body but not in spirit, chose to join Zion and Lijah in the blue bike; it made a heavy load, but I could manage it downhill. More serious was the heavy crowd of walkers on the bike path through Lexington Center, but our kids only hit one elderly pedestrian hard enough for anyone to notice. Then the crowds thinned out and we were rolling free.

the gang, including me on the blue bike. heading home on the bike path

satisfied parade-goers

Leah, who had stayed home working, was ready to greet us on our arrival with veggie straws and ice water. Just the thing—the kids were hungry despite eating constantly for the past four hours, and we were all hot and tired. The weather wasn't actually that warm, but shepherding—not to mention carrying—all those kids is hot and thirsty work!

Then some of the crowd headed home, one additional child joined us for a sleep over with Harvey, and we all had dinner together.

lots of kids and a few adults eating at our picnic tables

outside again? why not

It was a tiring day, on top of another tiring day, capping off a tiring week. No wonder Lijah fell asleep before he could finish his dinner.

Lijah asleep in my lap

all worn out and done up

I was pretty wiped out too—yesterday I couldn't hold my head up to type by evening, so this story went unwritten. But I couldn't leave it too long. I'm sure there's lots more adventure coming this vacation week, and I don't want to get backlogged!

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Patriots Day warm-up

On Saturday the boys and I biked up to town to watch Bedford's Patriots Day offering, the parade and pole capping. Our town likes to steal a march on the rest of the events next weekend. It's a good idea, since we get to see all the Militia companies in the area: they don't have anything better to do, and it's probably a good warm-up for the real thing. So from Sudbury to Groton, they were all there on our little town green.

a Minute Company marching in front of the Bedford Meeting House

history

Besides the town companies, there were also four fife-and-drum corps: the regular three—Middlesex, William Diamond, and Middlesex 4H—and, new this year, the Piscataqua Rangers down from Portsmouth. The reenactment is great, but I do think the music is my favorite part. Not that it's one or the other—they're all wearing tricorn hats, and some of the towns turn out very respectable bands along with their musketeers. Lincoln is good; Sudbury, though small, is very music-heavy and my favorite of the companies.

But it's the reenactment that gets most people there, and I agree it's fun to see all the outfits as the everybody mingles on the green before the parade steps off. Folks work hard to make their outfits look good; seeing one reenactor taking snaps with his phone I wondered if his attractive brown leather case was chosen specifically to make the phone fit in with the rest of his attire, or just because he appreciated fine workmanship. Even the tobacco usage was historically appropriate.

a reenactor lighting his pipe

period tobacco

That particular gentlemen took well over a minute to get his pipe lit; I'd make a comment about that doesn't reflect well on his general ability to be ready quickly, but I think that's just how pipes work.

The chilly weather sapped the boys' energy—that, and a late night Friday—so they were more than ready when the parade finally got going. My camera ran out of batteries before then, but Harvey—the official parade photographer of the day—was willing to settle on shooting with my phone. Here's a picture he took of the British Regulars bringing up the rear of the parade.

four British regulars marching

the day's villains

They were on their way to break up the pole capping, which they apparently did in delightfully non-traditional fashion. We didn't see it—all the days crowds are down at the pole end of the parade, and with the cold wind the boys were about done with being outside. So we headed in to the library for the other focus of the day's festivities, the library book sale. I picked up maybe a dozen books; I count it a success that when we got home I found there were only three of them I already owned.

There's more Patriots Day coming next week. We've warmed up—we'll be ready.

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and the parade

It's been two years since we got to attend a Patriots Day parade, so we were determined to enjoy this one to the fullest—those of us who didn't have more important concerns to take care of, at least. In Leah and Lijah's absence we made sure to invite lots of friends along.

eight or so kids sitting on the curb waiting for the parade

not pictured: parents

I came up with the idea of inviting friends to park at our house and bike up to Lexington for the festivities last year, but in the event rain forced a change of plans. This year the scheme was back bigger and better than even, so we had five families all together at the parade route—six if you count Grandma and Grandpa as distinct from us Bedford Archibalds. Having so many friends to talk to was interesting, since it served to abstract me a little from the direct experience of the parade... in the best of all possible ways. Harvey and Zion were insulated by their friends too, and additionally their focus on ingesting as much parade-grade sugar as possible.

Harvey and Zion slurping up the last of their shared blue raspberry slush

sharing the sugar

The biking part of the trip—with the best part of three families—was lovely; the four kids on their own bikes did a fantastic job, and I had fun hauling a couple more in the blue bike. Having it makes packing for an outing a lot easier. Bring a soccer ball? Why not?!

Zion and a friend in the back of the full blue bike, Zion making a face

filled to capacity with supplies and silliness

We managed the 4.5 mile trip up in about 40 minutes, plenty of time for a relaxing lunch—and a little soccer!—before the parade.

all the bikes, many of the picnicers

Other folks joined us by auto and foot, including some little guys, who weren't sure what to make of all the excitement. But parents knew how to enter into the spirit of it all!

look at their patriotic outfits!

For their part Harvey and Zion are parade pros, and even distracted by friends and food they enjoyed it all to the fullest.

Zion and Harvey waving little US flags

happy Patriots

So that was that—then those of us with bikes went back to our house and kept the party going with beer and Indian food—and mac and cheese for the kids—for another three hours, but that's another story. Let's do it again next year!

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Bedford: the Day

the back of Lijah's head as he watches the ladder truck go by

watching the trucks

After counting down the days, we four boys were super excited when the morning of Bedford Day arrived. Which is good, because the excitement of the younger three made Mama's absence—she was out all day running a big mountain race—a little more bearable. So did pancakes.

We were up at the parade route in plenty of time to get a prime spot. As usual the kids all crept steadily forward to improve their chances of grabbing some of the candy thrown by nearly all the units in this particular parade; but this time Harvey and Zion were right up there with them.

Harvey and Zion well away from the curb, standing with the other kids ready to get candy

on the front lines

They were brave in the scramble, too. Don't tell Mama how close Zion got to the wheels of some of those trucks! Even before the parade was over they got to enjoy some of the sweet reward.

Lijah eating a chocolate

Bedford Day spirit

Before the parade we'd scouted out the booth with the cheapest hot dogs ($2 instead of $3 each!) so we knew right where to go when there was nothing more to watch out on the street.

Zion taking a big bite of his hot dog

more substantial fare

Low camera batteries prevented me from getting a shot of the karate demonstration, the highlight of the day for Zion, but when we made our way to the 4H area I remembered my phone in time to capture Lijah's delight.

Lijah in the baby goat pen, pointing at one

his favorite part

Next up was the fire trucks, including the new ladder unit (of which the department is very proud). Here's Zion taking it for a drive.

Zion sitting way up high in the driver's seat of the ladder truck

I don't think he can see over the dashboard

There was also a mobile EMT training facility, with a practice dummy that was oddly fascinating to the kids...

After all the excitement and heat—it was baking in the sun—we were happy to head over to the library to buy some books at the sale and just relax. It's nice to see the whole town out and enjoying themselves; but I think I'm also glad that most people stay home the rest of the time.

Lijah sitting on the little couch in the kids room, lot from behind by the window, playing with toys

oasis

Happy Bedford Day!

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patriots get going early in Bedford

This morning the boys and I headed up to town to take in Bedford's Patriot's Day observances, which conveniently happen the weekend before Lexington's. The last couple years we weren't ready a week ahead and missed the chance to take in a bonus parade, but this year we were poised and excited and took off up the hill on our bicycles as soon as we heard the drummers start to warm up.

the Concord Minutemen's flag

Minuteman pride

Because we rushed so much we were pretty early, which was great since it let us watch the crowds of reenactors gather on the town green.

lots of reenactors milling around

the pre-parade scene

It was awesome to see so many people dedicated to history and pageantry. The quality of the outfits varied a bit, but the occasional off-the-rack shirt or robber-soled shoes didn't detract a whit from the experience of being surrounded by figures from another age. And some of the folks had everything right.

a bearded reenactor in a red cap

awesome

The parade is just the precursor to one of the twin highlights of Bedford's civic culture, the pole-capping (the other, of course, being Bedford Day (2, 3, 4)). Near as I can tell—crowds have kept me from getting a really good view the three years I've been—the Bedford Minutemen put up a Liberty Pole, and some British regulars come and make them take it down. But besides that there are lots of speeches by politicians and local notables, and this year those speeches were long and inaudible enough that we gave up early and headed back to the library for the book sale. So as far as I know the pole stayed up this year.

Never mind, though, the parade alone was well worth the trip out, and inspired us all to ask Mama to make us our own colonial costumes for next year. Although Lijah, come to think of it, was already pretty well-attired for the day: we missed seeing the red cap on top of the pole but we got to look at this one all morning!

Lijah at the parade in his red cap

pretty cute too

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this year's Honk!

the boys watching the parade, band in background

leftists on parade

This past Sunday we headed into the urban jungle for another year's edition of the Honk! parade. We got there plenty early—by design, because for the boys the wonderful playground on Cambridge Common is as much of a draw as the music and anarchy. And they made the most of it, playing so independently that I didn't even manage to take a good picture: they were too far away! Of course, the parade was awesome too.

tall bikes in the Honk! parade

typical extravagance

Besides the bands there were puppets, protest groups, adults and kids on stilts, and of course tall bikes. It was everything a parade should be, and totally unlike the Bedford Day parade, which is also everything a parade should be. (That statement could stand to be examined further in another blog post.) Actually, there were a couple commonalities: both parades have a big kid component, and new this year Honk had a unit throwing out candy. Just a bit, but it was enough to cement the boys' understanding that all parades everywhere should give them candy.

After the parade we headed into Harvard Square, where we had lunch with some friends sitting on the thin end of the traffic island splitting the two lanes of Mass Ave in front of Harvard Yard. Car-free streets are great! Of course, while they were car-free the streets were totally and all-encompassingly choked with people, so Leah was quickly overwhelmed; and, truth be told, it was even a little bit much for me. But I wanted to take more music, and so, surprisingly, did Zion. And since he could go on my shoulders he was the only one of us who could actually see the musicians the first couple bands we found.

members of the New Creation Brass Band playing

pizza party

There are a lot of fun and interesting bands involved in the festival, but I wanted to hear some real good music so I was happy to find the New Creation band playing an un-advertized set on the sidewalk. The boys and I were even able to find a spot where we could see, and we happily enjoyed a couple great examples of modern New Orleans brass band music. Leah indulged us and waited patiently. I could have sat there listing for as long as the band kept playing, but let no one say I lack consideration entirely! I also found a back way out of the festival throng so we didn't have to struggle through the crowd again, and a quiet bathroom in a Harvard library (though Zion preferred to pee outside, on the library's bushes), so I'm not totally useless as a provider either.

All in all it was an experience, and we're already looking forward to doing it again next year! Just maybe slightly differently.

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Bedford Day 2014

the boys watching a fire truck go by, holding their ears

Bedford Day is loud

Last Saturday was Bedford Day, and the boys were very excited. Since we had a birthday party to go to in the afternoon Mama and Lijah stayed home, but Harvey, Zion, and I were up to town in plenty of time to get a good seat for the parade.

Zion and Harvey sitting on the curb smiling

giddy anticipation

Unlike some other parades, this one doesn't have too many musical units, or any clowns; what it does have is many loud trucks—Hanscom snow plows, DPW loaders, and fire trucks from all the surrounding towns—along with local politicians, martial arts schools, and kids sports leagues. And their all tossing out piles of candy.

a mob of young soccer players in the parade throwing candy, kids scrambling to pick it up

free-for-all

Aside from our parental doubts about how much candy our kids need to have at any one time, this bonanza of sweets has another downside: kids between 9 and 13 or so are driven mad by the bounty and spend the whole parade in a frenzy of accumulation, mostly blocking the view of the adults and little kids sitting obediently on the curb. This year was better, though both because at the start of the parade I spoke sharply to some suspicious-looking youths nearby—they went somewhere else—and because Zion and, especially, Harvey are much better at scrabbling for treats themselves than they were in years past. Here's Zion with some of the booty.

Zion sitting next to a pile of candy

better than Halloween!

After the parade we headed over to the fair, which was packed with an overwhelming number of people. The boys snagged some free balloons and petted the 4H animals, and we ate lunch while watching karate and dance demonstrations. But the highlight of our fair experience was the library book sale. Whether at the main sale in the library our out at the auxiliary booth, all three of us were happy to look at books for quite a while.

Zion and Harvey sitting on the pavement in the book sale booth looking at books

fair reads

And with our lunch from home and all the candy, the only money we spent was five dollars on books. A wonderful and successful day at the fair!

(Now all we have to do is make the leftover candy... disappear.)

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festival report 2: Patriots Day

boys and grandparents watching the parade

parade!

Hot on the heels of Easter came Patriots Day; that happens sometimes. We took a relaxing morning to let some of the effects of the previous day's chocolate and business to wear off, then headed to Lexington to take in the festivities. Of course, first we had to take in a picnic!

Mama and Zion sitting on the grass surrounded by containers of food

plenty to go around

There was lots of food; the cookie Harvey and Zion split was plenty of food all by itself! (I made them split it on the principle, as I told them at the time, that you should never eat a desert bigger than your face).

Harvey holding half of a big cookie

half a monstosity

After we finished lunch we had plenty of time to make our way to our traditional parade-viewing spot, since we cleverly came early for prime parking opportunities. As we wandered over we met Grandpa Ira, who kindly indulged us in another attempt at a family photo. It took some persuading to get Zion to join us, but he did eventually.

the five Archibalds on a park bench

looking not entirely unhappy to be photographed

We made it to the parade route about 45 minutes before P-Hour, and the boys ran around and played in the bushes for a while until the other Grandpa (and Grandma) showed up, at which point they settled down on the curb to wait.

Harvey, Zion, Grandma, Grandpa, and another Grandpa sitting on the curb waiting for the parade

anticipation and grandparents

The thing about parade photography is, the parade units tend to be the same year after year. I've noticed this before, but it struck me even more this year (it might be because this parade was back to normal after last year's 300th Birthday Spectacular). So I mostly stuck to taking picture of the kids.

Zion watching the parade

enjoying 1

Harvey watching the parade

enjoying 2

Actually, there was one new thing, which Zion enjoyed seeing.

a marcher in a cartoon chicken suit

big chicken

I think it was advertising a daycare, but no matter: it was there! A marching chicken!

Patriots Day can be hot or cold, and this was one of the hot years. The temperature was actually reasonable—I was fine in long trousers and long sleeves all day—but the sun was startlingly strong, and we regretted our lack of sunblock. Luckily I had remembered the hats! But Lijah wasn't happy to permit his to stay on, so for the most part he and Mama retired to the shade.

Leah and LyeLye at a distance, in a scrap of shade

seeking refuge from the sun

But don't worry, they could still see from there! At least, the one of them who can focus her eyes further than three feet away could. But don't worry LyeLye, we'll do it again next year!

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happy Patriots Day

an American flag

oh say

Marathon Monday for some, "huh?" for others; but today was Patriots Day for us! We went to a parade. More narrative—and variety of photos—later, but here are some images of us being patriotic.

We all got new little flags.

Zion, in a sun hat, holding a small American flag

having and holding

Harvey carried lots of supplies... most of the way.

Harvey with flag and backpack

marching along

Even LyeLye got in on the action.

Elijah lying in Leah's lap holding an American flag

the littlest patriot

It was a Patriotic time all around.

Harvey, Zion, and Nathan comparing their small flags to a big one

just like the big one


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