It’s nearly St. Patrick’s Day, which means the Greenwich (CT) St. Patrick’s Day parade can’t be too far off.
For us, it’s as much a harbinger of spring as the first crocus blossoms. Basil and I started going when we were dating and continued the tradition after Catherine came along, standing on Greenwich Avenue in all weather, including a deluge one year.
Here Catherine is waiting for the parade to step off in 1999.
There’s something about the event that screams spring — maybe it’s simply the chance to get out in the fresh air for a while after being cooped up all winter.
The first time we took Catherine, back when she was just shy of a year old, we bought a huge green balloon emblazoned with white shamrocks … and accidentally let go of it while buckling her back into the car seat. It was her first lesson in “if you love something, set it free” and “mom will make mistakes, too.” We never bought another balloon at the parade again.
Over the years, we’ve watched Catherine’s classmates in the line of march as they danced in Irish dance troupes, accompanied their Scouting troops or rode the fire trucks.
We’ve clapped and marched along with the music groups; watched my Port Chester High School band go; sung “Sweet Caroline” at the top of our lungs to the enthusiastic performances of The Tappan Zee Bridgemen; waited to see the crazy Shriners’ mini cars; and stood long enough to hear the final notes of the Westchester Brassmen, their end-of-the line placement signalling time to go home for the corned beef and cabbage bubbling in the Crock-Pot.
This year’s parade is late — March 23 — but we’ll be there on the sidelines … hoping that after all the weeks of cold and snow, this year’s effort marks a true sign of spring.