jayellebee's Blog

September 10, 2011

Signs of the Times

Filed under: Musings — Joanne @ 8:30 pm

     Thistles crowning waist-deep dried weeds strike a pose, ready to release their seeds with the first gust of wind.  Squirrels chew prickly pinecones down to course nubs.  Wild blackberries plump, glistening with sweet juice.  School is in session.  Bags of Halloween candy grow stale on grocery shelves.  Hallmark Christmas ornaments  gather dust in the drug store.

     These signs of the times all point to the same unavoidable conclusion:  summer is, once again, about to throw in the white flag.

     The fat lady (wearing a tank top and short shorts) may be clearing her throat, but she won’t be allowed to sing just yet.  On the second Sunday of each September, we in Nevada City entertain one last celebration before winter cascades off the Sierra Nevada peaks and crash lands on our door step.  Tomorrow, U.S. presidents will head down Broad Street accompanied by the Ophir Prison Marching Kazoo Band, the Merry Widows, floats, classic cars, and miscellaneous oddities.  The occasion?  The city’s 45th annual Constitution Day Parade.

     That’s right.  Nevada City is a proud bicentennial town.  We take our history seriously and our fore-fathers even more so.  The foreplay leading up to the day’s main event will include a re-enactment of the signing of the United States Constitution.  Then a bevy of costumed revelers portraying President and Mrs. Washington as well as all of their successors will strut down the main thoroughfare of historic old town.  Our local paper has admonished us onlookers to arrive early or risk losing out on the best viewing places.  Sizable crowds are expected.

     But, wait!  There’s more.  A civil war re-enactment is scheduled for later in the afternoon.  And the 49er Rotarians are sponsoring a duck race in Deer Creek.  (I’m at a loss to explain how rubber duckies fit into Constitution Day, but maybe I’ll understand better after attending the activities tomorrow.)

     All this excitement may keep me awake tonight.  Or, my restlessness may be attributed to something else altogether. 

     Tomorrow will be September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of the infamous 9/11 attacks.  I confess to a certain uneasiness attributable to news accounts of “credible” reports of possible new terrorist plots.  My memories, like yours, of the day the twin towers crumbled are still raw.  Vivid.  Haunting. 

     Ten years ago, I learned first hand how my parents and grandparents must have felt the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.  Just as they worried Japanese zeroes might be heading for the mainland’s west coast, so I worried yet more terrorist flown planes might be targeting California landmarks.  Just as my elders knew with certainty our country would be sucked into the second world war, so I dreaded the inevitability of our young soldiers doing battle in the Middle East. 

     My innocence was destroyed.  I felt unsafe for the first time in my life.  Five months passed before I had the nerve to cross the Bay Bridge.

     So, tomorrow I hope to attend a parade.  I hope to laugh at silly antics and marvel at the craziness of it all.  But, tonight I may not sleep well as I send  thoughts of gratitude, vigilance, and courage to all who do their best to keep the rest of us safe. 

     In the morning, I will raise the Stars and Stripes.  And I will remember.

     9-13-11  Happily, the tenth anniversary of 9/11 was a non-event.  Here are some photos of the Constitution Day parade for your viewing pleasure:

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1 Comment »

  1. Very moving, Joanne.

    Comment by Jean G — September 15, 2011 @ 9:40 pm | Reply

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