Tuesday, July 8, 2014

four for July

We were rained out for our 4th of July boat parade.  Given the preparations and decorations, there was much disappointment about the camp.  Luckily, my father had done his research, and found that there was a rain date.  So we hoped Arthur would pass quickly.  And woke to a gray but less choppy lake the next day.

The wind was still gusting occasionally, so the kids tucked the decorations into the cedar roots and waited patiently while the boat was readied.  

It was still a bit windy.  Requiring a little balloon chasing.

Readying the boat always takes longer than we remember.  And longer than everyone wants it to.

The boat was ballooned while we were anchored in front of camp.  And flagged.  And bannered. Our most important bedazzler was our collection of modified milk jugs, four of them, for bailing.  This was our wooden boat's first time in the lake for the season, and it was taking on water like a sieve.  So we were bailing before we even started.

With some extra time for decoration ideas to brew, there were some interesting interpretations of the red white and blue.

As few more motor adjustments and we were on our way, up the lake to the public landing at the inlet.  It was pretty quiet out there, no other boats around and few people out on the their porches and beaches.  We were excited though, and made quite a spectacle of ourselves, just in case anyone was watching.

As we motored around the last point before the landing, we were expecting to see a flotilla with stars and stripes ablaze.  I wondered who we might meet while readying ourselves for the procession.  We always meet someone who knew my grandparents when we venture out here.

But this is what we saw.

No boats.

We waited.  The starting time of the parade came and went.  We waited some more.  I thought of this poem.

And then, we heard a far a away motor coming around the point and towards us.  A small, lonely boat.  Undecorated, but at least he had shown up.  We cheered and waved.

He looked at us.  Drove past us, and out of sight up the river at the mouth of the lake.

Oh dear.  Well.  We waited some more.  We even began driving toward home.  Slowly, waving our flags so we either looked like we were having a parade or were just out for a leisurely cruise.

But then, around the point, came two party boats.  And they were decorated!  I do believe that these festive souls were even wearing color coordinated outfits.  

Clearly more ready to take the leadership role here, they pulled in front of us.  

Waved in that nonchalant reserved but somehow friendly Maine way we do, and began the procession.

Then, we three processed.  It was quite a scene.

The spectators?  They were just as interesting as the processors.  Some were there on purpose.  Some were clearly doing something else and happened to be out there as we went by.  Some, such as those enjoying a moment of solitude, or trying to fish, were clearly annoyed.

Grammie was our best audience, as usual.

No matter.  We waved to them all.

While we had focused on decorations and general enthusiasm, the other boats clearly were more prepared.  Apparently, though we could hear none of it, there were speeches.

And hats.

A loon followed along with us for a bit, popping up here and there to watch us and then submerging.

At some point, we were joined by a fourth boat.  They quietly pulled in behind us and became the caboose.

We processed for quite awhile.  We decided to stick with the gang until we made it down to the public beach and then town, where there was sure to be a collection of people.

Nope.  Crickets.

And so, we gave a wave to our parade friends, these festively colored people we had driven along with for a bit but never spoken to.  We turned the wheel and headed toward camp.

And the lake slowly returned to its typically quiet self.  With its purple mountains, majesty.

Grammie had made us lunch.  Tuna melts.  Which were delicious.  And we giggled amongst ourselves at our silly four boat parade.  Wondering if there are only four, is it actually a parade.  If a tiny parade processes across a lake, and very few people see it, is it still a parade?  I think so.  Four festooned boats with coordinated outfits and speeches and casual waves to each other?  I think it's a boat parade. Northern Maine style.

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