It’s summer, so it’s time to get away from it all.
I did so for three days over the Fourth.
Getting away from it all is what vacations are really about.
Three days may not seem to offer much time to bring that off, but son Steve and I did by visiting his slightly older brother, Andy and his family up in Moretown, Vermont.
Three days in Vermont is getting away from it all?
With the main attraction being the Fourth of July parade in Montpelier?
We left Steve’s home in Amesbury at one fifteen in rain promising weather on Tuesday of last week.
Two hours later deluges were made whole as we drove blindly across the Connecticut river bridge from New Hampshire to Vermont,
“That was different,” I said some ten minutes later as we left the thinning edges of the downpour for fifteen minutes of sunshine before the first of its successors fell upon us.
Steve said the experience of the rain-made midnight at the bridge and beyond for a few miles topped all his years of commuting.
The post weather wrapups in Vermont barely made a ripple of it.
I wasn’t surprised.
Vermonters make do. Always have. Pray that they always will.
It’s one of our smaller states: 2012 population? 626,011.
Rhode Island is smaller, but population? 1,050,000.
Rhode Island is kind of crammed in between Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Vermonters aren’t crammed into anything despite other changes elsewhere over time.
There are more of them than once was -- those come to escape from wherever but bringing some of it with them, and others doing whatever it takes to keep it as it has for so long been.
If you get to Montpelier visit Vermont’s History Museum. It is so Vermont from its Abernathy roots to what it has become.
Everyone enjoys a good time however, and the Fourth of July parade attracts all.
There’s no better example of Vermonters making do than they do in Montpelier.
They can do it because their Capital is at the center of the state.
Montpelier is a small city with a big heart, surrounded by those of, by, and for the people who, save for Burlington, live in smaller ones.
They enjoy their parades because it’s more likely than not they know those parading, from U.S. Sen. Pat Leahy, to those of all ages honoring this and that.
There were five of us toting our folding chairs, rain gear, and umbrellas: Andy, his wife, Cindy, and her mother, Audrey Hall, come up from Cape Cod.
This year, the parade was on the afternoon of the day before the Fourth for reasons I did not attempt to know.
We arrived at the west end of the route as usual in time to find parking and chair space as close to the parade’s ending as possible.
I knew the drill well, but I had a personal problem requiring relief, and scooted ahead to find it.
Two blocks later I found twelve suitable structures from which to choose.
Relieved, I sought to find my family from among what had become a surge of others and a street lined with food fenders on both sides.
I walked easterly on the South side of the parade route, and then back westerly on the North side.
Alas, no familiar faces, so I walked westerly on the North side of the route, and easterly on the South side just past the dozen relief terminals, when I found Andy with a police officer who had apparently joined the hunt for one another.
With that done, we found the others sitting on the front porch of the Vermont History Museum which we had toured earlier in the day.
Cindy and her mother thereupon plumped their chairs down on the edge of the sidewalk, and within seconds others did beside and behind them.
Steve, Andy, and I, took ours back off what remained of the sidewalk to the fringe of the park lawn from where we had a full view of Vermonters on parades of their own -- coming, going, pausing, peering, talking, laughing, moving on -- behind those sitting, standing, and blocking a full view of the one on the street.
I’m uncertain as to which parade was most engaging, but all things considered, it was a moving experience.
Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and a staff columnist.