I don’t always hurry through the ‘hood when I walk. Sometimes I take my good old sweet time. Today was such a day.
Yesterday’s weather was abysmal – there is no other word for it. From early morning until nightfall, waves of torrential rain and thunderstorms made for one very soggy Saturday. I began my day by hunkering down in front of the computer screen, along with about 1,255,236 people who were similarly tuned into YouTube to take in the Royal Wedding 2018. The wedding ceremony was moving and I loved the pomp and pageantry afterward. This was my third Royal wedding I have viewed, beginning with the 1981 marriage of Charles and Diana, which I watched on the little B&W television in my bedroom before heading off to work. Then it was William and Kate in 2011 and now Harry and Meghan. I even misted up hearing “God Save the Queen” … I guess, once a Canadian, always a Canadian.
Luckily their day was picture perfect and they were not stuck with our weather. At one point, perhaps around 8:00 p.m., the sun finally dared to show up and I thought it should have been ashamed of itself for making such a late arrival. However, had I peered out the door, instead of merely harrumphing at that bright orb, I might have noticed this beautiful rainbow that my friend Ann Marie saw behind her apartment building and promptly e-mailed to me.
Indeed, that pretty rainbow was the reward for all of us enduring such a dreary, drizzly day.
Unbelievably, the skies were still spitting out rain in the early morn, so I decided to retool any Park plans I had today and walk in the neighborhood, then go to the City’s Memorial Day parade instead.
The sun was pale and it was chilly when I finally ventured outside.
On my walk, I noticed a robin’s nest brimming with babies. I smiled at the red-breasted brood watching the world go by from their nest up in the eaves trough. There was a momentary sadness as I recalled “our” robins who might have looked just like these and maybe even fledged this weekend. These chicks were in a nest high up near the gutters and seemingly safe from any predators.
I zoomed in on them and they were all looking in the same direction – most likely at Mama who was perched in a nearby tree.
I didn’t see Mama with any grubs or worms in her mouth, so I knew I wasn’t interrupting feeding time, therefore I took a few pictures, zooming in on this cute family of robin chicks. They all looked a little disgruntled, each resembling my grumpy face until I’ve downed that first cup of coffee.
I saw a funny video on my friend Carol’s Facebook page the other day and I wish I could share it here, but I couldn’t find a link to use. It was a man who found a baby robin and the chick could not fly very well. Evidently, it was an orphan, so he took it upon himself to care for this wee soul. So, this guy goes out to the garden with a pitchfork every morning and turns up the soil to expose worms and grubs for his feathered friend. Oh, did I mention that the robin likes to ride along on the pitchfork as he makes his way to the garden? What worms are missed by the baby robin, the man picks them up and hand feeds him, dropping them one by one into that upturned mouth.
People don’t have any flowers planted yet, just a few porch pots here and there. I sure don’t blame them as it’s been so cold and those torrential rains yesterday would have beaten them up pretty badly.
But this tree had two things going for it … or, perhaps I should say, growing on it.
Somehow dandelions were growing in a little spot of dirt above the base of the tree.
And, as that expression goes about a “fungus among us” … a healthy-looking appendage, a/k/a bracket fungi, was growing on the tree trunk. Ewww, but I still took a photo of it.
Finally, it was close to the parade start time, so I wandered over to Memorial Park to get a primo spot. While I used to attend the parade for years, I eventually stopped going until 2014, when I went over to watch the parade only, just for old time’s sake and to get some photos to accompany the narrative for that day’s blog post.
Today there was much police presence, and even the Downriver SWAT vehicle was featured behind the fire truck as the parade rolled by.
The Shriners were a big part of the festivities, riding their miniature cars, or motorcycles, and there was even a paddy wagon with Keystone Cops. The Shriners swerved and dipped their vehicles to the delight of the crowd and not a single fez fell from their respective heads.
There were Shriner clowns as well and they stepped close to the crowd for those who wanted a quick selfie.
Honest Abe and his bride made their way down the one-mile parade route, stopping to give a quick thumbs up, or smile at the many cameras and phones that were clicking away as they passed. The couple is a fixture at most of the City of Lincoln Park’s festivities.
I was disappointed the Lincoln Park Exchange Club did not have the field of flags display this year. The display consists of full-sized flags each on its own pole, each flag representing the 129 Lincoln Park residents who have died serving their country, beginning with World War I. Each flag has a tag that bears the deceased’s personal information, including date of birth/death, rank and where they died. The display usually goes up the week before the parade and I have visited that before. However, there were flags encircling the historic cannon and near the Fallen Heroes memorial and pavilion area.
Once the parade festivities were over, everyone gathered under and around the pavilion before the huge granite memorial, where bronze plaques list the war dead from World Wars I and II as well as the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. The sky was gloomy and gray and seemed like it would start to pour raining at any minute … that would be fitting for this solemn service, wouldn’t it?
The memorial service was touching and very respectful. ROTC members and veterans gathered and saluted one another before speaking and after placing a wreath at the memorial. The service lasted about an hour, and there were speakers, including one that sang “The Star Spangled Banner”. There were prayers said, the Pledge of Allegiance recited, a salute by the Canadian Navy Honor Guard and the mournful sound of “Taps” as well during the service.
With the strains of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” playing on the loud speaker in the background, I must say I was very moved, so much so, that for the second day in a row, I felt tears begin to flood my eyes … I guess, having lived in the States for nearly 52 years, I feel like I am an American as well.
I watched a few older veterans staring transfixed at the memorial stones, no doubt recalling their own memories, and likely their fallen comrades from many years ago.
I’ll leave you with this quote:
“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.” ~ President Harry S. Truman