July 4th in Montclair, New Jersey

Raise your hand if you love fireworks.

Raise your hand if you love parades.

Both of my arms are raised and my fingertips are a wigglin’.

Fireworks and parades put July 4th right over the top of fun things to do for me. We live in Montclair, N.J. where a parade happens every year on July 4th. For many years I would be the only member of my family waving from the sidelines because my husband Mike, son Max and daughter Tory were busy marching in the parade, along with many, many of our friends. You see, Montclair is that kind of town: the kind of town where groups of, say, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts put on their uniforms and march. And the local high school football team is named Grand Marshall of the parade. The Knights of Columbus march. A local chapter of gay, lesbian and transgender supporters march. A group from the famous Mummers march. The high school robotics team rides on the Montclair Society of Engineers float. People run out from the sidelines to hug the marchers they know. It’s a huge mishmash that works perfectly. Every year.

But my most favorite part of the parade is the bagpipes. A group from Kearny marches in Montclair every year. And every year I line up at the curb to listen. The pipers never disappoint. And last year? Mike and I found out, quite by accident, that as soon as the parade is over the group decamps to Tierney’s, our local Irish bar. And they play their pipes. ¬†Inside the jam-packed bar. So this year? As soon as Elvis walked by Mike and I made a mad dash for Tierneys…so I could hear the band again.

They played four songs. And each one was wonderful. My ears buzzed. My heart hummed. And all was right in my world for those perfect few minutes.

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