Sunday, October 1, 2023

Notes to my Neighbors 3.15.2006

By Rick Racela

Poke fun if you like. Everybody does.
Everybody jokes about calling North Wildwood the “parade capital of the world.”
It’s true. In good weather and bad, they’ll march all around town for any excuse. And they have lots of fun doing it.
It’s all in the way they see the world,
Mark Twain said, “Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thought that is forever flowing through one’s head.”
If the thoughts are positive, then life is good. If not, life is dismal – or worse.
Last Saturday, St. Patrick’s Day was the excuse for the parade. Actually, it marked the beginning of St. Patrick’s week. Since March 17 falls on Friday, the fact that this Saturday misses the mark makes for a fine excuse to have the party spill over two weekends.
The parade was a hoot. Hundreds of neighbors walked the few steps from their homes to City Hall on Atlantic Avenue, some carrying beach chairs, some pulling wee ones in wagons.
They settled themselves on sidewalks and curbs, and they had a grand time mingling with their neighbors.
Most were wearing green somewhere on their bodies. There were bright green sweaters, shamrock-ed socks and scarves, and tall green and white striped leprechaun hats.
It seemed like the whole town came out for it, both the Irish and the wish-they-were-Irish alike.
As I walked past houses on my way toward City Hall to see the program, I wondered if there were people inside who purposely chose to stay there. I wondered what they might have to do that was more important than saying hello to their neighbors and having a few laughs. 
The program wasn’t long at all. Monsignor Fitzsimmons led a prayer, Mayor Bill Henfey (the first Irish mayor of North Wildwood) addressed the crowd, as did Council President Patrick Rosenello, Emerald Society President Chuck Meissler, and soon-to-be-retired Councilman Hank Rice.
They spoke about the city’s proud history and about celebrating their centennial this year. They spoke about the city’s current robustness. They spoke of a rich future.
And the crowd listened. And they smiled and cheered and sang the national anthem with Mary Pat Hastings.
Then the parade stepped off to the tune of the Quaker City String band. The Emerald Society’s Color Guard countered with a note of solemnity.
Members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Ladies AOH, the Emerald Society, and the newly formed Anglesea Irish Society marched.
Grand Marshall Kathleen Connelly waved to the crowds from a snazzy convertible.
Then more music from the marching Teitelman band – very impressive, at that.
A float, a model of a ship that carried refugees from Cove, Ireland to New York during the infamous mort gor floated down the street. Miss North Wildwood sat atop a convertible, while fire trucks transported dignitaries.
It was all over in a few minutes. The first parade of parade season usually is. They get longer each time.
Short but fun. A lovely distraction in the middle of the day.
And for those who followed the parade to the Elks Lodge, the fun continued all afternoon.
What genuinely warm, small-town entertainment. Nice job of arranging it, Mr. Quattrone. 
My husband’s right. Life is good. But only if you make it so.
Plenty more where this came from.
Just peruse the Planner and discover the rainbow within your “storm of thought.”

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