Gaspee Days!

So I myself did not make the Boston Pride parade yesterday, and was marching in a different parade down in Rhode Island...the 41st annual Gaspee Days parade. Gaspee Days celebrates the 1772 incident in which a group of Rhode Island smugglers/rum-runners in the ship Hannah managed to ground His Majesty's Ship the Gaspee on the shoals near the village of Pawtuxet on the Cranston-Warwick border; they then went to a local establishment, had a few beers, and returned to the now stranded ship, evacuated it, and burned it. Thus began the first (slightly inebriated) blows for freedom during the American Revolution.

Every year we do it again. I think a columnist from the Providence Journal sums it up best:

The great Gaspee isn't a novel. It's every Rhode Islander's proud, pyromaniacal memory of inflammable insurrection.
We burned a boat. And we'd do it again. Heck, we'll do it every year just to stay in practice.
Gaspee Days are here again.
This weekend in Pawtuxet Village, celebrate. Gloat. Burn a boat.

Yesterday, despite the rain, I joined my old comrades with the Pawtuxet Rangers, Rhode Island Militia. I played fife for years with the fife and drum corps, and they were gracious enough to let me put a bright red wool coat and tricornered hat again to march down the street. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed marching and playing fife, and I'm thinking more seriously about joining up with a corps here in the Boston area. I'll keep you posted.

If you're in Rhode Island, today, Sunday, at 4 pm, they'll be burning the boat again in the harbor.

Also... a special thanks to Ron and John on Narragansett Parkway who graciously hosted a bunch of fifers and drummers on their porch yesterday morning during the pre-parade downfall, and even helped slake our thirst with some authentic 18th-century Bloody Marys...

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