On the Road

mbp_01In addition to a film festival, visiting ships, a new mile marker, and the country’s biggest Octoberfest (which I’ve yet to attend this year), this week included a parade in the nearby city of Mason as part of its bicentennial celebration. I managed to see the entire parade but it wasn’t all that easy. There is a long walk as well as a long story behind the picture at right.

By the time I started for Mason following the pancake breakfast at the condo clubhouse, the parade route had long been blocked off. I thought I might be able to drive closer to the parade start than to its end so that’s where I headed. My thinking was correct and I parked within half a mile of the point of beginning. It was almost close enough. The parade started promptly at 10:00 when I was still a couple of blocks away. I immediately went into high-speed pursuit mode (i.e., a brisk walk with a few cut corners) but only started closing in on the lead entry as the parade neared its point of ending.

mbp_02Of course that lead entry carried the parade’s Grand Marshal to whose identity I had not a clue and neither, as far as I can tell, does the internet. The distance from my parked car to the parade end point was about a mile with the “high-speed” parade route portion accounting for about two-thirds of that. A nice, though unplanned, workout.

mbp_04mbp_03The Mason High School Marching Band was not far behind. They quite reasonably had a two song repertoire for the parade and it had cycled several times during my pursuit and overtaking. One song I can’t remember and one song I can’t forget. For the second consecutive Saturday, I got to hear Hang on Sloopy live.

mbp_07mbp_08mbp_09mbp_10In the interest of time, I’m going to forego any pretense of posting a representative set of photos. Instead, here, without explanation or justification, are a few I just like.

mbp_11When your city is ten or twenty times your age, you can jump — repeatedly — for joy at the birthday party. I’m sure they could have caught up with the Grand Marshal before the second verse of Sloopy.

Memorial Day: Focus for Memory

Mason Memorial Day ParadeCincinnati is my mailing address though
I definitely do not live within the city limits. The area where I live is governed by township trustees and not inside any city limits at all. The city of Mason is the closest and people even sometimes speak of where I live as “the Mason area”. I’ve been to a few Mason festivals and such but I don’t make a habit of it and I don’t consider my self a Masonite. When the subject of Memorial Day parades came up and a friend mentioned that Mason had one, it struck me that I’d never been and that it was where I ought to go this year.

Mason Memorial Day ParadeMason Memorial Day ParadeThat turned out to be easier said than done. The actual attending was easy enough but finding out when and where was a real challenge. Every town in the area seemed to have at least one Memorial Day related event on every news site’s calendar — except Mason. The friend who had first mentioned the parade eventually came up with the time and route but I’ve no idea from where and the information was accompanied with, “I swear, it’s like they don’t want people to know about it!” Armed with the hard earned information, I made it in time to walk to the staging area and make it back to a big bend in the route before step-off time.

Mason Memorial Day ParadeMason Memorial Day ParadeMason Memorial Day ParadeThe parade had Grand Marshalls (more on that later), twirling flags, and a marching band…

Mason Memorial Day ParadeMason Memorial Day ParadeMason Memorial Day Parade…lots of Girl and Boy Scouts — including one pretty big group carrying a really big flag — and beauty queens.

Mason Memorial Day ParadeMason Memorial Day ParadeA sizable portion of the crowd, including me, followed the parade to Rose Hill Cemetery where a few ceremonies were scheduled. On the way we passed a fellow leaning back and watching the parade with a WW II veteran’s cap on his head. Someone a few spots in front of me reached out to shake his hand and say thank you. I was one of several people who took the cue and did the same. Yes, I know the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day and I sometimes chastise those who don’t. But most, if not all, of these thank yous were personal and exempt from any holiday protocol and they’re all too rare.

Mason Memorial Day ParadeMason Memorial Day ParadeMason Memorial Day ParadeToday’s parade had three Grand Marshalls. Frank Weishaupt, who was in the white Mercedes and is in the first picture, represented World War II veterans. The next picture is of Frank Huffman, Jr., who fought in Korea. The third picture is of John Looker who served in Vietnam and who was also today’s key note speaker. John was wounded more than once. On the day that he received his last and worst wound, eleven men in his unit were killed. Most of his speech did not even reference his own experiences but he ended by reciting the names of those eleven men. Personal? Yes. Appropriate? Very.

Mason Memorial Day ParadeWhen the speeches were over, two women came forward and placed wreaths on waiting stands. Seven uniformed men, who had been sitting to the side, then stood and fired three volleys as an eighth gave the commands. When they were done, a trumpeter standing next to them played taps as another, many years his junior, stood apart and echoed each note just a couple of seconds later. A benediction followed and brought things to a close. With my memory well focused, I walked back to town and to my car.

dedmhDoug Dickey was a high school classmate of mine who joined the Marines not long after graduation. In March of 1967 he gave his life to protect his comrades and for that was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The citation is here. One of my recent trip journals included a photo of his inscription on the Medal of Honor Memorial in Indianapolis. On March 22 of this year, a portion of Ohio Route 47 was designated as the Pfc. Douglas E. Dickey Memorial Highway and just over a week ago, on May 18, signs marking the highway were unveiled. An article on the unveiling is here.