Ramblings from the Cove...

July 2011

By Lars Gren

The day began with clouds and no doubt a bunch of youngsters were hoping that rain would not interfere with the Manchester Fourth of July parade. Their hopes came to pass and by ten in the morning the village, well yes technically it is a town but one can walk the main “drag” in ten minuets if no stops are made to look into the shop windows—old book shop—a restaurant—two coffee—places—couple antique shops—Crosby’s Market, 20 % or so above others by my guess—they can sell boxes of “old seed” tomatoes at better than $5.00 a pound according to a young fellow at the store—no it is not our regular place to frequent—and of course two filling stations. It is upscale suburbia. They are technically listed as Manchester by the Sea so as to not be confused I guess by Manchester NH which, shall we say would not be considered in the same league, as our adjoining town.

On the other side of us is Gloucester, hardly in the class of Manchester, either. Gloucester is one of the larger fish-packing towns in the States, and at one time had Herring Factories, which, if the wind was from the right direction, one could notice from several miles away. There was the old saying, “Manchester by the sea, and Gloucester by the smell.” That being said, Gloucester is very much the blue collar town compared to Manchester’s white shirt and tie business folks, although that’s hardly the distinction anymore these days.

Katie, who is in the house with us for some while, was a bit reluctant to go the parade, but after describing the gala event, I convinced her to take it in. I, however, had things to do and have so far managed to miss all parades in the town. Katie did describe, though, that it was quite nice, with some antique cars, a few floats, a man who was dressed head to toe in a flag (including his face), and of course the vendors, bagpipers, dance team, band, and then to make everyone happy, the fire trucks sounding off with their whistles and bells. Our neighbor, who happens to be the fire chief, told me that after the parade there were free hot dogs at the fire house. No doubt they were boiled, which to me is a desecration, unless one is in Denmark, where I would take their wieners in any form that they cook them. The offer of a free hot dog did not entice Katie. But she did enjoy the festivities.

On our return to Magnolia, our parade was just getting under way. There are no floats, fire-engines, antique cars, or venders, only a bunch of local Mamas and Papas with their little ones, some attired in red, white, and blue, others carrying flags or pushing baby buggies draped with the colors. The march begins at the library, which sponsors the event, and they lead the little troupe of 50 or so youngsters down a couple of blocks to the beginning of Shore Road. From there they walk the waterfront and back, up to the library, a fifteen-minute walk, which can consume the better part of an hour. Everyone has a jolly time talking and turning around, and being hauled back by the parents. And by the end, no doubt, the little ones are exhausted. Elisabeth and I joined that parade one year, as the oldest in the group. We hope that wherever you celebrated it was a grand day, and may have brought some thoughts of the history of this country from its founding, to where we are today. May the Constitution still hold for years to come.

And that’s it from The Cove.

God bless y'all,


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