05 July 2008

Taking the Fourth

It was a quiet 4th of July in our little corner of Portland. Jer and I strolled down to the neighborhood parade, a four-block round-trip spectacle consisting of decorated kids, dogs, bikes and parents.

Afterwards, Otto's, a Woodstock Blvd temple of cured meats, gives out free hot dogs. The line appeared ridiculously long, but moved quickly. Two 4ths ago, I decided to have my first hot dog in decades and got hives all over my body. I considered that a message from the universe, and have passed on the 'dogs since then. Jer pronounced his "routine," but isn't "routine" what celebrations like this are all about?

Despite its intimate size, our parade rated a real fire engine and significant police escort. This must be the easiest duty these guys could possibly pull.

On our way home, we encountered this charming bit of home-grown neighborhood boosterism. The sign was posted by Maddie and Sarah, and it reads: "For people that are moving or visiting there is a flower garden here in Portland either <- that way or this way -> . So look both ways. Go one way and then the other and I bet you'll see it. Thank you."

Later on, we donned what we've come to call our Fireworks Shirts, the loudest tie-dye on the planet, and walked up to Oaks Bottom Pub for a late dinner. We were greeted with indulgent smiles and peace signs along the way. Twice, we were asked whether we'd gotten the shirts at Woodstock. Yes, we are old hippies. And your point is...?

Our fireworks game plan was to continue down 13th to Sellwood Blvd and watch the Oaks Park display from somewhere along the bluff. Perhaps we could catch a glimpse of the downtown show as well. But we turned a block early and ended up at the end of a cul-de-sac, possibly in someone's side yard and conceivably in the midst of a private party. By then it was dark, but the crowd was friendly and we hunkered down for the show. I'm pleased with how well my camera handled the low-light conditions. Apparently it has fireworks recognition built in.

Chef Jerub topped off the holiday weekend by making a perfect lattice-crust peach and berry pie. This is very similar to the one with which he won my heart almost 28 years ago.

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