Sunday, July 5, 2015

Small Town Fourth of July, Londonderry, Vermont, 2015

My cousin Tad owns the only pub in Londonderry, Vermont. So when he invited us to come over for the Fourth of July weekend, I figured it would be a lively time.
Despite the rain, the good folks of Londonderry put on a patriotic parade that was emblematic of all that is wonderful about small town living.
 From a decked-out miniature horse (who turned out to be very sweet when I met him later) ...
 ... to honoring the town's oldest citizen, Londonderry had it covered.
 The rain was heavy at times, but people braved the elements and remained happily standing along the parade route.
 There were lots of flags and ....
 ... talented pipers and ...
 ... other cheerful musicians of all sorts.
 Junk is good. I was quite taken by Junking Johnson's float, below.
It's Vermont. Why not celebrate recycling?
And always a favorite, the firefighters and their trucks. Here, as in so many small towns, these men and women are volunteers. God bless them all.
It is my cousin's good fortune that every year, the parade ends in his restaurant's parking lot. Truly. So Tad books a band and has pizza and hot dogs and free watermelon all ready to go. Here above is Tad's niece Sarah, our cousin Laurie's daughter, helping to serve food to the hungry crowd. In the dining room, they were doing regular lunch and dinner service, as well. It was a busy place.
This year, the band was a local bluegrass group of  Ida Mae Specker (vocals, fiddle, washboard) and Faith Wood (guitar, vocals) and Rio Mueller on washtub bass. Sitting in with them was John Specker, father of Ida Mae, on fiddle and banjo. They were terrific. Check out Ida Mae's Facebook page.
You could hardly have squeezed another soul into the audience. The place was packed.
 Those who found no room inside hung out on the deck under tarps and canopies. The rain didn't seem to bother them.
 We managed to score seats at the bar. Here is my Handsome Husband with my cousin Laurie.
And here is Mr. Fourth of July himself, my cousin Tad, proprietor of Jake's.  He was up cooking breakfast for us at the restaurant this morning, despite a very long day yesterday. If you ever find yourself in Londonderry, you should check out Jake's. Their website is here and they also have a Facebook page. Please tell Tad his cousin Barbara sent you.
On our way home today, it seemed fitting for Independence Day weekend that we make a quick stop at the Bennington Battlefield on Route 67 in Walloomsac, NY.
This State Historic Site is the location of a Revolutionary War battle between the British forces of General John Burgoyne and Colonel Friedrich Baum against the American forces under Brigadier General John Stark and Colonel Seth Warner. 
It was a peaceful place today but in August of 1777,  British troops were trying to capture American storehouses in Bennington to restock their depleting provisions.                   
 The British forces had underestimated the strength of their enemy and most of their men were killed or taken prisoner. The Americans sustained smaller losses. 

Blooming milkweed, ripening berries, and shy deer now live where brave men once fought and died for their respective countries. I think it is a good thing to remember this once in a while, after all of the sparklers and fireworks and watermelon. 

Let us have peace. 

Find more information about the Bennington Battlefield  here