A smaller island is half a mile away from our home on our island in the San Juans. However, at one spot, this smaller island, Crane Island, is less than 75 feet away at a point called Pole Pass.
On July 3, Crane Island held its annual Fourth of July Parade. Crane Island is about a mile long and 0.75 miles wide and is cut up in about 64 pieces of property with about 30 or 40 vacation homes.
Its annual Fourth of July parade was held on the third as usual, so as not to conflict with the bigger islands’ celebrations. It brought out so many decorated vehicles that there were almost no people left on the island to watch the parade. It was led by the local fire truck and followed by a large assortment of ATVs, electric golf carts, dune buggies and tractors.
Laurie and I managed to hitch a ride on a homemade flat-bed trailer. However, other than a few spectators, only the deer poking their heads out of the brush saw this spectacle of odd vehicles (and people).
When we got to Nancy and Dick Clark’s property, everything was ready for the 200 people who had come there to celebrate Independence Day one day early with lots of hot dogs, mustard and soft drinks. They competed in a three-legged race, a gunny sack race, egg toss and water balloon catch. The grand finale competition was a dog race that was won by a dog named Sailor who had traveled from Big Double Island with his owners Mike and Lee.
There were 19 babies under six months old in all manner of harnesses worn by their proud mothers proving that the inconvenience of island life will survive for yet another generation of people who have enough sense to get away from it all. It is majorly inconvenient, with a ferryboat ride to one’s vacation home always presenting a series of problems.
Once you finish waiting for two or three hours to get on the ferry it is an hour and a half ride to one of the main Islands in the San Juans. Then these hearty Crane Island residents have to unload their car with all of their stuff and haul it down to the dock and load it into their small boat for the short trip to Crane Island. Then they haul it up the dock to their Crane Island car, which occasionally has a dead battery.
But let’s get back to the serious hot dog eating part of the Third of July celebration. They were as good as Costco hot dogs, which I think are the best that money can buy anywhere in America. Dick Clark leads us in the ceremonies that include a pledge of allegiance to the flag and the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner.” He often takes this time to give a talk, heartfelt for the adults and educational for the kids, about the meaning of the Fourth, our freedom and what it took to help us become the strong nation we are.
We returned to our island, and took a nap in preparation for the evening’s fireworks. Laurie invited several families to join us either on our boat or to raft up with us in Deer Harbor to watch the 10 p.m. show.
During the spectacular show I once again thought how lucky I had been to spend four years serving my country in the Navy in WWII and escape without ever getting shot at. I sat on the flying bridge of our boat with a group of people – one was 95-year-old Joan Glidden. Last year we spread her husband’s ashes in the bay here. After we spread his ashes I punched the Man Overboard button on our GPS and wrote down the latitude and longitude of the ashes and I gave Joan a 3-by-5 card with the specific details written on it.
It wasn’t even the Fourth of July yet. Tonight we can drive our boat over to Friday Harbor or Lopez Island for our choice of truly spectacular fireworks or we can go to sleep early to get ready to drive to Montana tomorrow for yet another adventure. I think I might pass on two nights in a row of fireworks in favor of a good night’s sleep in preparation for a long ferry boat line to get off of the island and start the 850-mile drive to Big Sky.
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