July 14, 2014 by comhomflt
The Gaspee Day Parade is one of our annual traditions, but this year we “went the extra mile(s)” – that’s for you, LT; I hope you groaned – and ran the 5K beforehand! Our oldest has been pestering me to run it ever since his cousins ran it a couple of years ago, and I had entertained hopes of running it along with him and my LT after . When deployment came along, the 5K began to sound like an excellent idea for maintaining my sanity! I had never run one before, don’t enjoy running, and have no way to go out running; but it gave me a goal to work towards and a built-in plan to take care of myself when mealtime was reduced to pb&j and whatever dinners our neighbors graciously supplied. Training was limited to early mornings on the elliptical in our basement, and it was enough, though certainly not as good as actual running. BM1 and I decided to add a little fun by sporting Navy pride while we ran, and we were joined by a Navy Reserve friend and her two boys.
We certainly got a lot of comments while running, and I’m sure it was those tacky knee-high NAVY / HOOYAH socks that made all the difference in the world. Having our own cheering section definitely helped! There were several friends scattered along the route, and sitting with Pepere and Memere and the New Hampshire clan were my mom, sister, and nephew all the way from Pennsylvania! Thanks, guys!!
For BM1, his only practice came a couple of days before the race, when I took him out for a one-mile jog. He barely broke a sweat and wasn’t at all winded, so I figured the race would be no big deal for an active nine year old. He was struggling at the one mile mark of the 5K, though, but we pushed through to the half-way point before I allowed a walking break. Finishing required quite a few pep talks and walking breaks and produced some tears, but he crossed the finish line running and made his parents proud! We finished together in under 40 minutes, and except for BM1, who declared, “I’m never doing that again!,” it was a positive experience.
Because of the race, I missed the opportunity for our usual patriotic family pictures as well as pictures of the colonial fife and drum groups that lead off the parade, but we made it back to our seats in time to enjoy a few of our other favorites. Thanks to my sister-in-law, I have this adorable photo of MC2 and her cousin, all decked out in red, white, and blue.
Last year, a certain Gremlin funny car and its Shriner driver were conspicuously absent. On the way to the parade this year BM1 remarked, “Either the Gremlin died, or the driver died. I hope it’s not the Gremlin.” Fortunately for the driver, it looks like both survived.
Of course, we made sure to stand in recognition of the Navy delegation, which was the Sea Cadets from Quonset rather than the usual contingent from the USS Providence (SSN-719).I had to laugh at this float by the Navy Seabees – a drum of beer with an attached sign saying “Seabees procured ‘Army’ beer.” Haha. Go Navy!
I also love this picture of my nephew waving at one of the local fire trucks. His dad is a fire fighter in Pennsylvania, and though one of the firemen marching in the parade was willing to pose with him, he was too shy for a picture, so we settled for this.
The funny moment of the parade was when these two tractors rolled by! Tractors?? In Rhode Island? In the ten or so parades I have been to, I have never seen tractors! I can only assume they came in honor of my mom and sister. It still was nothing like a Pennsylvania parade, where every tractor, harvester, and hay wagon within a 50 mile radius crawls by, but I was beginning to feel downright Pennsylvanian again!
As usual, the Uptown String Band had the honors of concluding the parade. Next year, we will try to have our “Fly, Eagles, Fly ” ready to go, or, at the very least, have our Phillies shirts on.