Land of the lobster

For reasons none other than dental ones, I spent the 4th of July in the U.S. And such a treat it turned out to be that I take all blame squarely off the godforsaken tooth. I did Independence Day, Gloucester-style.

Some Scandinavian friends of friends organized an evening barbecue at their lovely home in Gloucester, Massachusetts, just 40 miles north of Boston. Worming my way into their good graces, I got to go too. Located on Cape Ann, on the rugged, rocky coast of the Atlantic Ocean, it is America’s oldest seaport.

I’m told the entire day’s celebration is quite the Extravaganza, complete with a 4k Run/Walk, traditional picnic games (i.e. sack races/tug-of-war and a raffle), scavenger hunt, and a softball game. It typically culminates with the eccentric Lanesville ‘Horribles’ parade and a massive bonfire down by the picturesque Lanes Cove, but both were nixed this year because apparently things got wildly out of control last year (note: a raging enthusiasm, not raging inferno). As a result, there was a strong police presence this year – i.e. a couple of cops joining in on the fun. Even with the town’s annual festivities somewhat curbed, families, friends and neighbours were out in full force and good wholesome fun was had by all.

The other guests and I followed the crowds down to the waterfront landing at Lanes Cove, narrowly tripping over lobster traps and buoys galore. I watched as the small procession marched across the stone pier, bearing a giant inflatable lobster overhead. At the pier’s edge, the lobster, fashionably decorated with streamers in red, white and blue, was tossed to sea amid woos, yelps and applause. Then came the national anthem. The lobster was subsequently rescued. (I must admit the traditions here are entirely lost on me…)

Now, normally, I pride myself in not being a sunset-photo-taker but I’ve got to make an exception here. As the sun approached the horizon, the silhouetted figures standing atop the wall reminded me of Giacometti ‘Walking Man’ sculptures coming to life against the ever changing light. It was a sight to see.

As night fell, we were treated to fireworks. It was a good day.

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