For weeks I have longed for a barrage of white flakes or even enough chill in the air to be able to see my breath; instead, we have had the warmest February on record. Today, however, Old Man Winter blew back in to Northern Virginia with morning temperatures in the 20's and us with a parade to attend.
The dancers parade in short performance dresses, with thin leather Irish dance shoes wrapped tightly around their feet. They toughed out the pre-parade wait, socializing and huddling with their partners until their spot in the parade opened up. Dancing down the street, their broad smiles and clenched teeth disguised their shivering.
Spectators clung to the sunny side of the street. Children perched on curbs, covered with blankets while their grown-ups huddled behind them. Finding no space on the bright side, I crossed to the dark side - and quickly found a lovely space to call home for the duration of the parade. The military bands opened the parade, the Kena Shriners followed in their glittery Fez caps and tiny orange cars. The Ancient Order of the Hibernians from all over the area marched by followed by fire trucks and Irish Wolfhounds. Soon, my Irish dancer daughter kicked and twirled by, and vigorous clapping and cheering warmed us all.
Having enjoyed today's St. Patrick's Day Parade, I am home and looking forward to curling up in front of perhaps one of our last winter fires. I can hear in the next room that my wonderful spouse has built a snap, crackle and popping fire, and I'm headed there to thaw out my toes.
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