Here, they note that summer really begins on July 4th, and, this year, they were certainly right.
Ashland's Fourth of July parade reminded me of the Longmont Christmas parade, where half the town is in the parade and the other half lines the streets to see the first half because they know of someone who is in the parade. But Ashland is a big tourist town, too, and the streets were lined for much further. They even set things up the day before, blankets and chairs staking out Their Bit Of Ground. And everyone respected those markings, and the chairs and blankets marked the spot until the parade itself.
The parade started at 10 and ended a bit after noon. Everyone just sat out in the sun and watched, and it was everything from kids walking down, wide-eyed to bands and unicyclists and clowns. Jan and her family knew everyone, calling out to folks or getting called to from many of the floats and contingents. It was fun to see. They'd gone down early to get Marina set up for her part in the parade. John, Jet and I walked down the hill and then across town to the fire department, where Paul and Jan knew all of the emergency response folks there. So we rested in the shade of the big garage until there was this roar from the crowd and then this HUGE roar from two F-16's whipping their way across the parade route. They were so low to the ground and so fast that everyone just shoved their hands against their ears as the boom hit us. It was so loud it was astonishing, and so fast, nearly everyone who hadn't had a camera pointed at something right then didn't get any sort of chance at a shot at them.
Jet loved seeing them.
One of the EMTs laughed and said that that was his highlight for the parade, the rest was downhill from there. *laughter*
From the parade, Jan and her father and the rest of the family went back to the house in the car. Marina, Jet, John, and I went to find some food at the fair, and we did an okay job of getting the kids hot dogs and some good BBQ for John and I before we called for them to pick us up up above Litha Park. Walking down in the relative cool of morning was far easier than walking back up in the mid-day heat, so Jan indulged us. We then headed to a friends' house of theirs that had a pool and kids.
It was out of town a bit, and up in the hills a bit, but it was just as hot, and the pool was cool from being filled this morning. Still, in that heat, it was the perfect temperature for jumping into. I really tried to edge my way in, but I couldn't get past my thighs. I had to get out and follow Jet down the water slide into the water and just go all the way in in a method out of my control. It felt shockingly cold, but it also felt SO good against that heat. I was amazed.
All the kids played happily in the water, including us, for several hours. From about two to about five, we just did our best to keep sunscreened and wet. The kids took some time to explore their huge property with big tree swings, a huge tree house, a stream, lots of things growing every which way. The herb garden had gone feral and there were mints, parsley, basil, lemon balm, and rosemary in huge, profuse patches that smelled wonderful when the kids ran through them. We waded through the stream, went through a bit of forest to get back to the house, and Jet found a little garter snake sunning itself. The dad caught it and handed it around for people to see. It was warm and sleek and barred with gold on it's dark skin.
From there we headed back to the house for a few hours in the shade and air conditioning. We played the Junior version of Apples to Apples, which we all liked very well, and might get Jet to actually read a bit in his play time. It certainly got him to think about words in a good way, so I think it may be my next buy for him. Everyone enjoyed it, too.
Then Jan finished off a quick salad from the garden and a beautiful raspberry and blueberry tart for the Fourth of July potluck, one of five or six parties they'd been invited to. We all trooped out and went out to party. At least a few folks there knew us, for some measure of "know", as they'd rafted with us down the Rogue river more than a decade ago. That was fun to recall. John had met some folks at the Hash the night before. After eating there, Jet ran off to two other parties on that block to see what was going on, and get to light some sparklers and other fireworks. At least one of those parties was one that we'd also been invited to, so that was okay by the hosts. Jet loved the fireworks and wanted to light some himself.
We then all wandered off another couple of blocks to a party being given by a firefighter, who had blocked off her street so that adults could light some amazing fireworks all up and down that block. It was astonishing to see huge swinging sparklers, big curtains of gushing sparkles, and the bang-pops of small mortars.
The kids got a wading pool to cool off in, and that distracted Jet enough that he really enjoyed that while we waited for the big, city funded fireworks to go off. While he was drying off and changing he told me that the professional people that set off fireworks were paid for by our taxes. I said, yes, you're entirely correct. Woah.
The city one started for just a burp of fireworks at 10 p.m. Then some adults or teenagers with Big Shells lit their little display off. It was impressive for a front yard display. But then a few police patrol cars prowled by and it stopped for a bit. But then they started up again for long enough before the big, city display started up and, this time, just kept going. It was good. Swirly silver ones with purple ends, the big star burst, the rings with different colored centers, etc. We had a lot of oooooh's and aaaaaahh's going along as we watched. It was great.
They didn't get over until nearly 11, and the kids were really tired. John forestalled Jet getting carried all the way back to the car by just telling him he was walking to the car. He did it. And Jet even made it all the way home by talking about the fireworks for most of the way home.
We got to sleep late, and I got to sleep in in the morning. They'd kept a few waffles for me, which was very, very good, and when I'd eaten, we all went to the Science museum here in Ashland. They had enough visitor passes so that everyone could go free, and I had a very pleasant time wandering about with Jet and Marina, building things, playing with things, and experimenting with things. I loved the one where I pumped water into a plastic bottle and then pumped air into it, and then let it go. The bottle would hit the ceiling so hard that it would come down as fast as it went up. Woohoo!
There was a new dominoes table, with a constant loop movie of Luna Tim with a long falling sequence. I wished they'd been able to show the Honda commercial. So it was, but I got to build a few series and let Jet trigger 'em. There was a very cool table that kids could turn to create turbulence. There was a generator bicycle that would run an electric train when one turned it fast enough. Jet got it to go halfway around the track! He was pretty proud of that.
Paul and John did some errands while we were busy. Then they picked us up and dropped Marina off at dance class and dropped me off at the yarn store to meet up with Jan. That was cool. They have a very nice knitting/spinning shop just right off the main drag. I think it's called "Webster's" and it's very well-stocked and nicely lit. Best of all they have a whole rack of hand-knit or crochet items that people can just buy off the rack! There's a lot of beautiful work there, plus every item had a tag that named the kind of yarn and the pattern it was made from, so that if you really wanted to just make it yourself, you'd have an example of how it would turn out in front of you. That was very keen. I think that's a *great* idea for a yarn shop. Especially for those that don't actually knit or crochet.
I should try and instigate that at our local knitting shop.
I was very tempted by several things, but decided against all of it. Jan found a great book with a beautiful little pullover in a very lacy style that looked very nice, but she ran out of lunch time and went back to work while I ran out to get my lunch before I had to meet everyone else. I tried to get lunch from the Pilaf right near the shop, but they were backed up with lunch orders, I guess, as my to-go order took nearly twenty minutes to get out of the kitchen. Sigh. I shouldn't have left a tip when I paid. So it is. So by the time I got it, the boys had already come down in the car to pick me up to go swimming.
So I decided to just go back to the house. Let them all go swimming, and I have spent a cool bit of time in the house with the computer, my lunch, and some instant iced tea. The simple things in life. Or not so simple... as I'm also recharging all my toys from my cellphone to my camera batteries to my lap top. I should probably shower before the kids come back and get all our laundry back in from outside. With it being so hot, it was easy to just put everything out on the clothesline and let it dry in the sun and get a good dose of fresh air for themselves.
It's been very, very busy here, and very good, too. I might actually do a little knitting while I can. *laughter*