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July 3, 2020

Our small-town July 4th parade has been the pride of Sierra Madre for generations. Besides the parade on July 4th morning, Independence Day festivities start the night before at the local park and continue after the parade. I get a kick watching everyone walking in from all directions to find a spot to park themselves on the route. I will forever remember Louie and little Jacqueline holding hands on their way to the parade, Daddy carrying a ladder so his “mija” (my daughter in Spanish -- short for “mi hija”) could see above all the tall people. Another year I won’t forget is when Louie crossed the street and waved hello to me under the shade of a tree -- behind three nuns fully dressed in their habits. Now, each year, we walk to our friends’ home on the boulevard who host a fun parade-viewing morning with lots of bagels, lox, and coffee. Guests bring whatever they would like to add to the mix. Then we all watch the entertainment: the local nursery school kids with their parents, cool marching bands, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the mayor and city council members, veterans groups, the forest rangers, our esteemed Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team, classic cars, and the John Deere tractor brigade to name about a third of the list. The finale is the quintessential bright red fire truck sounding its sirens. The parade is open to just about anyone who wants to sign up. Louie still fantasizes about driving in the parade and tossing his business cards…

This year, the coronavirus may have forced the cancellation of Fourth of July parades across the country, but the spirit in our town has not dampened. In lieu of a parade, there’s a contest for residents to show off their best yard decorations to honor the holiday.

Yesterday, I walked by a house that just might be a 1st Place contender.



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