* * *The neighborhood parade is one of my favorite holiday traditions. Kids march by, carrying hand-lettered signs, "Happy 4th!," "Stars and Stripes Forever!" Red and blue paper streamers trail off bikes and big wheels. A couple kids skateboard around the edge of the crowd. They wear faded patriotic t-shirts, and their skateboard wheels whiz on the concrete. Dogs, with star-spangled bandannas tied 'round their collars, lope at the end of red leashes.
We drag our camping chairs out to the sidewalk along the parade route and clap and cheer as the kids wave and skate and pedal by. The route ends at the tennis court, where the neighborhood association president hands out freeze pops.
* * *This year, I cheered for the lone little patriotic driver. I wondered if his dad did not get the cancellation email or if the little boy insisted on driving the route anyway. Regardless, I am inspired. A red jeep, white stars, and a proud little rain-wet, smiling face...the brightest spot on a dark day, too stormy even for fireworks.