I happened to be in Center City Philadelphia today, They had a Gay Pride parade going down Market Street. On a gorgeous sun-filled,light summer day, the rainbow flags and sequined halter-tops fluttered above half-assed, joy-filled floats crowded with singing young people. All this with yesterday’s horror in Orlando forming a dark, roiling background just over the horizon.
Like the old joke goes, I’d lived in Philadelphia seven years one weekend. But that ended in 1978. I followed the broadcast of Nixon resigning to the open door of an apartment in Lambertville and rented it, and moved out of City of Brotherly Love the next weekend
This parade happened to remind me of two others. The last parade I’d seen in that part of Philly had been in 1974, celebrating the Flyers’ first Stanley Cup. It had attracted a considerably different crowd than today’s, but just as festive. The last parade I’d seen there at all was a Mummer’s Parade one New Year’s Day, probably in 76. And as it occurred to me there were ringing thematic similarities between that parade and this one – namely, mascara and beer – what should appear sashaying down the, avenue but a small string band, playing, as it were, a gay tune,