Usually I think of Ann Arbor as a fairly cosmopolitan place, given its size. We're the home of Borders Books (do NOT take this as an endorsement . . . I'll save my anti-Borders rant for another day . . . but please shop at an independently-owned bookstore if there are any left near you); the classical music scene is world-class; University of Michigan is one of the top-rated state universities in the country; and as if that's not enough, pretty soon we're going to have an Ikea only 20 minutes away.

However, on the Fourth of July, man, we are hick town.

Don't get me wrong: I love our annual parade. We get to see the mayor, state legislators, the drain commissioner, the county prosecutor, the sheriff. Police cars, fire trucks. Preschools. Girl and Boy Scouts. A dixieland band playing "Hold That Tiger." A fife and drum corps dressed in revolutionaryish garb playing "Yankee Doodle."A theatrical stunt group. Local issues: people on bicycles ("We don't block traffic; we are traffic!"), urban planning folks, peace activists. And the one that reduces me to a puddle of sentimental tears every year: Mothers of Multiples, with their double (or triple) strollers and identical toddlers in matching red-white-and-blue outfits.

They wave at us and throw candy; we wave and clap and scramble for the candy, and everyone's happy. Steve even waved at the Washtenaw County Republicans. "What are you doing?" I hissed. "Honey, this is America," he said. "But notice, I'm not clapping."


  • I haven't been to a good old fashioned parade for 35 years or so.

    I'm assuming Disney parades don't count? If they did, it's only been two months.

    Have a great 4th!

    posted by Blogger Fred on 1:14 PM  

  • Oh, I remember the Mothers of Multiples when my girls were small. I always felt like a stranger in a strange land at their meetings, I never did fit in.

    posted by Blogger GuusjeM on 11:27 PM  

  • and I live about 15 minutes away from each other. What a small world indeed!

    posted by Blogger Adrienne on 2:31 PM  

  • Nope, Fred, Disney parades definitely don't count. :)

    Guusje, I can imagine. Some day maybe I'll write a post about my unpleasant experience with La Leche League.

    Adrienne, how cool! You're the third person I've "met" on line who's connected to this area.

    posted by Blogger Julie on 6:16 PM  

  • I beg to differ. I love the parade. Well, I guess you didn't say you hated it...just that it's low caliber. I agree. Ypsilanti actually does a much better 4th of July parade. And if you miss that one, it repeats for the Heritage Festival.

    I will send photos to you of the bookworms thoroughly enjoying the parade -- hick town or not!

    posted by Blogger doulicia on 9:43 PM  

  • Doulicia, I LOVED the parade! I wouldn't miss it for anything. The old-timey midwestern small-town hick-ishness is what gives it its charm. (That's why Disney parades don't count.)

    I can't wait to see the pix. I was kicking myself for having forgotten to bring mine. :)

    posted by Blogger Julie on 6:40 AM  

  • I haven't done a hometown parade since the kids were little. Big treat for the little ones with all the candy tossing going on.

    posted by Blogger midwest_hick on 10:32 AM  

  • I actually miss the parade; my husband and I were talking about how the 4th of July needs to have something community-oriented like that. Do they still do fireworks out at the airport?? (Oh man, an Ikea 20 minutes away? Can't wait to visit my parents!)

    posted by Blogger Melissa on 2:50 PM  

  • Last parade I went to was last September. It one held every year to celebrate the landruns that settled Oklahoma. I hadn't been in 10 years before that.

    Now that last comment from your husband was hilarious.

    posted by Blogger Sleeping Mommy on 5:56 PM  

  • Yeah, we're all into the midwest corniness here. We have to be. We want to live in Colorado, but we have to enjoy what the midwest offers. And that's parades, berry picking, apple picking, and pumpkin picking. And some decent fall foliage, local festivals, etc. But I won't be waving to any elephants. I save my waves for the kids, the band, and the veterans :)

    posted by Blogger Running2Ks on 9:56 PM