JULY 4TH, 2012

The weather has been our usual early summer spate of cool fog-shrouded mornings followed by deceptively bright sunshine along the coast. Soon as the sun goes down all the folks from SoCal huddle under wool blankets and load up the fireplace with logs to ameliorate the dreadfully painful temperatures hovering about 52 degrees while people from Winnipeg and San Francisco stride about in flipflops and shorts wondering about all the fuss.

The annual July 4th parade took place as scheduled with Charles driving the open stagecoach of honor, looking for all the world with his white beard and ample girth as if Santa Claus had descended from the North Pole to put on a stetson and ferry Mayor Marie around town instead of a bag full of toys.

As per tradition, Charles pointed the coach straight at the Island-Life photographer in an effort to run him down, but our man got clean away.

Naturally the Native Sons of the Golden West had their entry, a garden float complete with guys dressed as golden poppies, bumble bee kids, and all the women wrapped in a long continuous flag winding amid the misty mountains majesty, flowing waterfalls and 49ers panning for gold, among whom Snuffles Johnson kept company, as the man already resembled something which had been living hard in the hills already without makeup. David supplied him with a jug of Carlo Rossi burgundy and so the old bum made much merry up there amidst the Spirit of 49, roistering and ogling all the pretty cheerleaders.

All the churches presented floats -- there were several blocks of those -- and many of the bars entered floats as well to follow the churches -- there were many many blocks of those -- and all the dance studios as well. As usual the Catholics were the best organized, and the Lutherans had the best looking women.

The organizers relented this year to allow political groups, such as Mary for Congress, Papoon for President, and the Democratic Party, because it was felt these groups were so innocuous and unassuming it was almost as if they were not political entities at all.

Once again Papoon's campaign slogan meant to distinguish him from the pack of candidates is "Not Insane!"

There was the usual martial stuff with antique hardware and old soldiers and the always popular Swim Club float with attractive ladies wearing swimsuits and diving goggles.

Things went swimmingly until the Elks Club entry #147. The Elks, being a large group full of people who like to get involved, managed to assuage internal frictions by creating a float for all of the feuding factions, so this one group wound up with about twelve seperate floats. The Veteran Elks. The Civic Elks, the Musical Elks, the Medical Elks, the Travelling Elks, the Space-Age Elks, the Affable Elks, and the Gameboy Elks.

It was the Angry Birds Elks that caused all the subsequent trouble. This was an ingenious two float entry which featured a human catapault on one truck and a rickety cardboard palace stuffed with little paper mache green pigs on the other.

The whole thing had not lumbered more than half a block when Martini, stuffed into a plump redbird costume, got flung twenty feet from this bungee cord catapault to overshoot the cardboard castle of pigs to bounce off of the cab roof of the truck and plow into the House of India entry, scattering bowls of daal and sari-clad women, bouncing from there the way those Angry Birds do into the middle of Wootie Kanootie's moose herd which stampeded and overran the Sons of the Golden West float, completely destroying the gauze American flag and forcing Lady Liberty to ascend Mt. Whitney without her robe just as the float turned the corner to head down Park Street and the official parade starting point where the NRA folks were demonstrating firearm safety by firing pistols into the air.

Lady Liberty, a free-spirited competition swimmer from Catalina named Wynona, had taken care to prepare for the warm temperatures by shucking just about every stitch so it was a pretty impressive and largely nude Lady Liberty wearing a crown and bearing a torch that stared down the Island main drag as Wootie's moose herd trampled the Island Animal Rescue Shelter entry, busting open cages and sending any number of rabbits, cats, shi tzu's, and ferrets scampering between the legs of the show horses.

Someone got a coat for Wynona, but the avatar of Blind Justice, portrayed by the lovely Samantha of Brazil behind the three 1776 militiamen didn't notice that her robe had gone with the moose herd because of her blindfold. Wally, portraying Congress (2nd Branch) was drunk and did not notice. Eugene, portraying something that was supposed to be either Uncle Sam or George Washington (Executive Branch) had been raised a devout Catholic with strict orders to ignore naked women of any kind, so he said nothing, but appreciated the view all the same.

Once Martini got free of his costume and the moose, he abandoned the parade in a most unpatriotic fashion to get a Fat Tire and a bump at the Old Same Place Bar.

Much later, the Wiccan coven of Gaia was astonished to see Eunice the moose come strolling into their pentangle under the pines out by Crab Cove. All in a tangle of holiday lights and streamers about her massive neck clung the remnants of a bright red Angry Bird costume.

Pahrump, well toked up for the occasion on Humboldt's finest green, towed the blind Avatar on a skateboard behind his scooter for a good mile before Ms. Morales came up to him and hissed, "Your passenger -- she is naked!"

The Falun Gong folks rescued the day by taking the naked Avatar of Justice, scales and all, into the sanctuary of their gauzy twenty-foot wide lotus.

That night the parade was very much the talk of the town however not all the amazement was reserved to the brass rail of the Old Same Place Bar. Late at night a dark periscope poking above the waters of the estuary observed the ritual explosions and firey pinwheels of the annual American Holiday.

Mohammed, First Mate to Captain Abdul in the belly of the Iranian spy submarine AIS Chadoor, commented on the violence and the chaos.

"Indeed they are a warlike people, these infidels."

The captain observed through the periscope the Native Sons of the Golden West using the Angry Bird catapault to toss each other into the lagoon. "Warlike and very, very . . . silly."

David Phipps did an aerial barrel roll amid the bottle rockets before landing with a great splash.

"Silly and . . . entertaining." The captain amended.

And with that the periscope went down and the spy sub glided through the estuary to the San Francisco Bay where passed beneath the bombs bursting in air, the purple majesty of Mount Tam and the spans of the Golden Gate that so gallently gleamed out to the shining sea, running silent, running deep.

From far across the water, the long howl of the the throughpassing train ululated across the patriot waves of the estuary and the waving grasses of the Buena Vista flats beneath the gleaming stars as the locomotive glided past the dark and shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, headed off on its journey to parts unknown.

That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.