Saturday, May 12, 2007

Cool Things in North Portland: The St. John's Parade

First, here's The Peep with his new bike (just visible in the lower left). Now that he's a big four-year-old he is a superb cyclist, the Tom Boonen of the can't-wipe-his-own-backside-yet age group. We're at the corner of N Richmond and N Lombard where we rode to today's Cool Thing in North Portland.It's been too long since I've done one of these CoTiNoPs - I think the last one was about Merlo Field, and that had to have been back in the fall, since soccer season is well and gone. So this CoTiNoP (pronounced "cot-nop" like the what the kitty does on your best black sweater when you leave it on the bedspread...) is truly overdue. AND, to make things even spicier, it's not a place. It's a thing.
Every May the internationally known St. Johns Parade transforms our little town out here at the tag-end of Portland into a combination of Brazilian Carnaval, Bavarian Fasching and that thing they do down in Lents in Southeast Portland where they get the guy who runs the all night pawnshop and Spirit of the Holy Redeemer Chapel and Car Wash to bless all the cars everybody in the neighborhood has stolen all year (called "The Feast of St. Dismas", I believe). A pretty good part of the area turns out to see the fire trucks, car clubs, politicians, rodeo queens, Shriners, little league teams and the rest of the menage amble down North Lombard. Here, for example, are our own Astor School Marching Eaglets doing the prepubescent-cheerleader thing:
It's a very...American...sort of thing. Organized, after a fashion, but not very; and with some sort of direction, but not particularly well directed. The parade is a little bit of everything to no purpose at all. It's silliness in its most concentrated form. Witness the marching pirates - I frankly can't imagine what to say that speaks as plainly as the sight of them.
Couple of parade thoughts at random:
When did elementary and middle schools start having marching bands? None of my lower schools in the 60s and 70s had them.
What is it about parades that bring out the goofy exhibitionist in people? Or is it that parades just bring out goofy exhibitionists?
Who the hell dreams of being a Royal Rosarian? Rock star? Sure. Pro athlete? Okay. Astronaut, pharmacist, biker mama...but the RRs? WTF..?

So be sure to get here early; good seats in the ivy go fast.

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