Some others can’t get past their own hate
A bleat from the Madison fire truck’s siren announced the beginning of the annual Independence Day parade in the Orchard Ridge neighborhood shortly after 11:30 Wednesday morning. There followed a squadron of children pedaling their tiny bikes, mom and dad pushing infants in strollers. All decorated in red, white and blue. Bringing up the rear was the year’s surprise parade marshal, riding in an open-top convertible.
Parade marshal Tom McKenna
Decidedly low key.
One year, when he served on County Board, yours truly had a place of honor, paired with Ald. Cindy Thomas. Two years ago, Chief Mike Koval accepted the applause of our neighbors. Last year, one of the great men of Madison, Bob Keller, now approaching age 91 and still developing fine housing in Madison, waved to the crowd. Who would it be this year? Turns out, another good friend, Tom McKenna — one of the great housing providers. His father, John C. McKenna, developed Orchard Ridge beginning in 1950 after buying the Hammersley farm in 1946. The Stately Manor was built in 1954.
A good neighbor who lives on the other side of the park, Diane Harrington, recalled moving into Orchard Ridge on the day before the holiday, several years ago.
“We were quite perplexed when we woke up late in the morning July 4 to find hundreds of people in the park on the other side of our backyard hedge. What a welcoming! A neighbor from across the park saw we’d moved in and brought us a plate of food from the picnic and explained the amazing neighborhood tradition that was going on in the park. We learned she was coaching her daughter’s soccer team — and our older son was the same age. At the first soccer practice, we met other families from the neighborhood, one of whom had son the age of my younger son. We felt so welcomed right away.”
The Squire and his family can say the same when we moved to Orchard Ridge, Madison, WI, 28 years ago. Many of the first home owners here were still around and we met them at our neighbor’s house, the late Buddy Baxtrum, who happened to be the FBI agent (retired) who pursued the Army Math bombers. (He’s featured in the wonderful account of that crime, a book titled Rads by Tom Bates.)
After every July 4 parade, neighbors assemble in the park for burgers, brats, and hot dogs; games for the kids and catching up with our neighbors. Many of us backing up to the park also host impromptu backyard parties where an adult beverage can be enjoyed.
Is the vile bile justifiable?
Many of my neighbors are committed liberals and that’s O.K. This is Madison, after all. This bloggeur does not allow politics to sour a personal relationship. We also understand the enmity that many have for our current president. What we cannot understand is the kind of self-defeating stunt that closed down the Statue of Liberty on its busiest, most-visited day of the year for most of the day. Even the Trump-hating New York Times headlined the story: “Statue of Liberty climber upends holiday for thousands.”
Speaking of self-defeating is the blog operated by Jeff Simpson, Monona Grove school board member who sees racists under every bed like Joe McCarthy saw Communists, and Chris Liebenthal, a Milwaukee county government union heavy who was once disciplined for “wasting the public’s time.” (Yeah, he was blogging on government time.)
This is their contribution to America’s birthday: