Sunday, July 04, 2010

Grand and glorious

Well it’s been a grand and glorious 4th down here --- if you overlook the rain that spared the parade but let loose about 4 p.m. leaving the future of fireworks somewhat in doubt. Maybe it’ll dry out by 10.

I thought for a while about not going up town this afternoon, but after looking at the forecast and seeing that there was a 100 percent chance of heavy rain, but none was or had been falling --- what the heck. Several thousand others made the same decision, so it was a good turnout. It’s easier just to walk the three blocks to the square from here when there’s a crowd like that. As it turned out, there were a few sprinkles but not enough to get anyone wet.

Sorry about the photo of the color guard, but the best opportunity for a decent shot was spoiled when just as the guard was turning the corner, some old guy (maybe my age) decided to treat the assembled multitude to a good view of his bald head, knobby knees and folding chair by dashing across the street in front of it. Nice going.

I wanted to use a photo anyway because the young man dressed in desert fatigues is the son of people I know and will be deployed to Afghanistan later this week. He was home on a three-day leave and while Mom and Dad were proud to watch him march in the parade, it was pride mixed up with all sorts of other emotions I’d guess.

The Chariton 4th always is a good parade for fire trucks since water fights follow at 3 and Chariton alone must have more than a dozen pieces of equipment, partly because it’s one of the best-equipped departments in this part of the state but also because it never gives up on an old fire truck.

Old Betsy, an 1883 Silsby coal-fired steam pumper that was bought new when we had the misfortune back in the 80s (that’s the 1880s) to have the fire station burn down, is always star of the show. She’s rare because she still works --- and travels widely because of that. There was a brief scare a few years ago when after more than a century she had to have a boiler transplant or be retired for safety reasons. She came through the transplant with flying colors (and sparks and steam), however, and has been doing just fine since.


I’d guess the first old truck dates from the 1940s, but can’t be sure of that; and the next one, from the 1920s, do you think? I could be off a decade on these two.

The Russell Fire Department was there, too, with all of its equipment, including this vintage engine, as were Lucas, Williamson, Woodburn, Corydon and maybe others that slipped by me.

And I had to take a picture of Ron and Doris Christsensen aboard the vintage John Deere, used by them a couple of weeks ago in the Great Iowa Tractor Ride down around Burlington.

Ordinarily I don’t take pictures of politicians, but U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell was in town for the parade and the couple I was standing next to was being notably rude about him and Democrats in general, encouraging their children to behave the same way (raising a nest of Republican vipers no doubt). So, since I have a blog and they don’t, heeeere’s Leonard.

The class of 1960, holding their 50th reunion, had their own flatbed, but the Pattersons, convened for their family reunion, had everyone beat --- one flatbed bearing “the Pattersons,” another bearing “more Pattersons” and a third flatbed bearing “the rest of the Pattersons.” Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of any of the Pattersons, darn it --- all 100 or so of them dressed in identical red t-shirts.


Sunday morning’s ecumenical worship service got threatened rather than rained off the square and into Johnson Auditorium. By threatened, I mean everyone thought it was going to rain. But it didn’t. O ye of little faith. Or maybe better safe than sorry. Still, several hundred people turned out and while the auditorium wasn’t exactly full we were spread out enough to make it look that way.

It was lots of fun to participate in a service that included people from so many traditions --- United Methodist, Assembly of God, Disciples of Christ, Community of Christ, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Nazarene, Episcopalian and Lutheran.

OK, so I didn’t like the praise band. It was so incredibly loud (maybe it would have sounded better outdoors). In the interests of fair disclosure, I suppose I should admit that I think praise bands are the best argument around for joining a denomination that bans musical instruments from houses of worship entirely. That way at least you can be sure there never will be a praise band.

And while we’re on the subject, I don’t think much of “praise songs” either --- in fact I don’t think much of any hymn composed after let’s say 1920 --- except “Telephone to Glory” and “Life is Like a Mountain Railway,” both of which may be somewhat later.

We tried to sing two praise songs Sunday mornings (in addition to a couple of others most of us knew and did OK on), but the danged praise band was so danged noisy that none of who didn’t know the songs could figure out where the melody was supposed to be and so both turned out to be more or less solos by the Assembly of God preacher who, admittedly, has a beautiful voice --- so it wasn’t that bad but I think we missed the point.

The praise band, by the way, was an ecumenical affront, including as it did musicians from five denominations, so I’m not picking on anyone specifically here. They were all guilty of musical malpractice.

The new Nazarene preacher gave a really good sermon, and I was anticipating and fully expecting an altar call. All Nazarene sermons end with an altar call. Unfortunately, Johnson Auditorium is not set up for an altar call since anyone who came foreward would just take a nosedive into the orchestra pit. So it ended a little limply. Besides, we didn’t get to sing “Just as I Am.” And it is not an official altar call unless we sing “Just as I Am.” I hope they remember that next year. Although I suppose the praise band would have ruined it anyway.

Actually, I wouldn’t mind hearing the Nazarene preacher preach again. But I’m afraid to go to the Nazarene Church to hear him. They might have a praise band.


Ed said...

Leonard is looking kind of trim and fit compared to how he used to look. It's been awhile since I've seen him.

Martin said...

THe more we see of him out here, the less time in Washington, spending our money!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Let me know next time so I can inhale! Doris