JaniceHeck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Archive for the tag “vacation”

Saturday Silliness: Basset Hound Doo Dah Parade

Small cities have big imaginations, and Ocean City, NJ (OCNJ) is no exception.

To launch its summer season, OCNJ holds its Annual Doo Dah Parade the first Saturday after Tax Day in April.  It’s a ridiculous fun event not to be missed. We celebrate because taxes have been paid, and summer is just around the corner. “Hallelujah” from us beach lovers.

Doo Dah Parades have a history in other areas of our country (Pasadena, Columbus), but they don’t quite measure up to the Ocean City parade.

The Ocean City spectacle parade always has several lowpoints highlights. The first is the appearance of a nationally known celebrity as Grand Parade Marshall. In past years, Carol Channing, Mickey Rooney, Larry Storch, Captain Kangaroo, and Soupy Sales have been our esteemed parade leaders. This year, Chuck McCann, TV and stage actor and vocal artist, did the honors.

Abbott and Costello, Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Jack Benny, and Lucille Ball regularly appear in the parades. Okay, so they are impersonators, but who knows the difference?

The second, but most important feature, basset hounds, garbed in their tax season finery, strut their stuff.  Well over 400 of these floppy-eared, waddling doggies entertain the crowds as they meander huff and puff wobble down Asbury Avenue and the Boardwalk. Some bassets sport humiliating outrageous costumes that make them want to run and hide their owners think are cute. Others, rigged up in more sartorial splendor, reign with an air of pomp and cirumstance, all the while looking down their snouts at those lesser-dressed, riff-raff, tag-a-longs.  Take a look.

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.

“Here comes the bride. See how she waddles from side to side.”

I don’t know about you guys, but I just wanna play around with da chicks. (Chick magnet, get it?)

Honest now. Would you wanna waddle in a parade wearing this ridiculous hat? I wouldn’t wear this even for a high-falutin’ society wedding.

I. Will. Not. Go. One. More. Step. And. You. Can’t. Make. Me!

This parade is just so much excitement. I just can’t handle it all. Lucky I have a slave owner to carry me when I get tuckered out.

Here’s the deal. If you flop down and refuse to walk, someone will come along and give you a lift. Got it?

Here’s another possibility. Kiss up to the Grand Marshall and get to ride in comfort and style in the limosine parade golf cart.

Of course, any parade with 400 to 500 dogs is bound to be a bit chaotic at points, and this fiasco procession does not disappoint.

And, don’t forget. There are awards: “The Golden Hot Dog” award for local tri-state (NJ/PA/NY) participants and The “Double Doggy Doo Dah Glutton-for-Punishment Award.” How do you get the 4DGPA? Participate in another Doo Dah Day Parade somewhere in the country, and the honor is all yours besides, no one else wants it.

And there’s more. People Furry fellows and felines of all shapes and disguises flounce in this parade, too. Every year Sir Rapid T. Rabbit sponsors the annual furry (and a few feathers) critter consortium in the parade.

Rapid. T. Rabbit of Delaware’s (The Furst State) Furry Forum, leads frolicking furry freaks friends down the OC Boardwalk

Marching bands and vocalists Riding bands and musical groups roll up the Boardwalk throwing out sounds and love to the crowd. Sometimes they throw Schriver’s, Fralinger’s, and Steele’s Ocean City Salt Water Taffy to the sticky-fingers eager hands of candy-eaters  freeloaders parade guests.

Here’s Jan’s sister trying to horn in on a classy musical performance

If you can’t afford wheels, you just have to do it the old-fashioned way and walk.

And when the parade’s all over, you get to have pizza at Manco & Manco. Okay, so there’s a line. What did you expect? It’s a warm, sunny Saturday in April. There’s been a parade on the Boardwalk. And people are out on the beach sticking their toes in the water. Of course, there’s a crowd…and a line. The wait is worth it.

What kind of pizza do you want?

Oh, I forgot to mention one thing. Dogs are not allowed on the Boardwalk.

Oh well, I guess that once you’ve paid your taxes, anything goes! Besides, for those lovable basset hounds, OCNJ will just look the other way.

Want to read more posts about Ocean City? Click here, here, and here.

YOUR TURN:

What’s your favorite kind of parade?

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V is for Va-ca-tion in Italy

The other day I mentioned that serendipity is one of my favorite words. Here is another word I love: vacation. Say it slowly and listen to all of its sounds: va–ca–tion. Lovely.

It sounds even better when you say,”Va-ca-tion be-gins on Fri-day.”

Of course, one could say that I am on vacation all the time since I am retired. But no, that’s not true. Time gets filled up with the essentials of living after you get your official AARP card! How did we do all this before we retired?

This Saturday in Florence, I will meet my sister-in-law, Carol; my niece, Christine; and her friend, Inger. Then we are off to our villa in Positano, Tuscany for a week. The villa is close to San Gimignano, a well-preserved medieval town. We hope to visit  San Gimignano at sunset before we retire to recover from jet lag, then visit it again on Sunday.

From Positano we will make day trips to visit various small towns in the region. On one long day trip from our villa, we will explore the Italian Riviera, Pisa, Livorno, and Volterra.

Other towns we plan to visit: Siena, Lucca, Chianti, Montepulciano, and of course, more time in Florence.

In Florence, we will do a bike tour to get our orientation to the city, before spending time over two days to visit the Uffizi, the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens, the Ponte Vecchio, Galleria dell’Academia to see the statue of David, and any other sites we can work into the schedule. Of course, cafes, market places, and trattorias are on the schedule, too. I’m afraid we will be typical tourists in the sense that we will try to cram in as much as we can see in a short visit.

On Saturday, Carol and I will leave for Rome by train. Christine and Inger will head back to their homes in Norway.

In Rome, we’ll take the hop-on, hop-off bus to get a general orientation to the city, then over the week’s time, we’ll visit the Roman Forum, the Coliseum, the Pantheon, the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. We will take a day trip to Pompeii later in the week. Our hotel in Rome, the Hotel Navona, is centrally located in the Piazza Navona.

I am sure we will run out of time before we run out of things to see, but we will do our best to see as much as possible. This will be my third trip to Rome, but I still plan to see all of these sights as a first-timer, with wide eyes and an eagerness to learn everything. I plan to take a lot of pictures for future posts so I can share my experiences with you.

So for now, Ciao. I leave on Friday, April 27. Don’t worry, my posts for X, Y, and Z for the rest of April are ready almost ready to go. Early May will feature some leftover A to Z posts.

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