Our 4th of July weekend -- 07/05/11

Jill's boyfriend Chris (who lives in Ottawa) was visiting for the weekend, so Jill got some giant sparklers (about three feet long) and lit them in the backyard in honor of Canada Day.

On Saturday we went for a walk on Newport's Cliff Walk. Nancy and I joined Nancy's sister Janet and her daughter Alison and some visiting family members -- Nancy's sister Clara and Clara's husband, Paul, and their daughter Kate... and two dogs. (I showed some Cliff Walk photos back in 2007.)

We started at Narragansett Street, walked to the beginning of the Cliff Walk at Memorial Blvd, which is where the picture below of Nancy and me was taken. That is the start of Second Beach (also called Easton's Beach) and Easton Bay (an inlet of Narragansett Bay) behind us. After some photo opportunities overlooking the beach, we then retraced our steps and then went past Narragansett Street and on for quite a distance before returning to our cars.
(I put these two photographs and twenty or so more on Facebook -- marked for Friends and Friends of Friends.)

Janet and her husband Tom had everyone over to their house for a cookout that evening. And then they repeated their invitation for the next night as well. Sunday was really a vacation day for me. My major accomplishments were reading the Sunday newpaper and making some potato salad to bring with us to dinner.

On Monday morning we took part in the 18th running of the Camire's Firecracker 4-Miler. I have run that almost every year since we moved to Rhode Island. (I know I've missed it at least three times -- once back in 1999 when I had just returned from England the day before, overslept and didn't get to the race until three or four minutes after it started, thought I would run it anyway and then the thunderstorm that had been threatening actually began and lightning struck a power transformer across the road and I decided that was a sign that instead of running the race I should go home and have breakfast. In 2008 I was in Monterey, California, when that year's race was held. And last year, of course, what with my heel surgery and my hernia surgery, I did not enter any races until September.

Tom also ran the race as a last minute entry (and was the first of the four of us to finish). Chris and Jill ran with me (and walked with me because I made a point of walking all uphill sections) until the three mile point when they took off. Jill, however, did not cross the finish line with Chris, but doubled back and joined up with me a couple of blocks before the finish and ran to the finish line with me. We crossed the finish line with the race announcer saying "And here come runners 110 and 109, two long-time local runners, Jim Lawrence and Jill Lawrence!" I told Jill that made us small town celebrities.

I didn't bring a camera to the race, but here's a post-race photo taken in our front yard...

Yes, the photograph below was taken on the same day, just a couple of hours later. It was hot and sunny (mid-eighties) in downtown Wakefield (where we had raced) but seven miles away, on the tip of Point Judith, everything was wrapped in blanket of fog. Clara and Paul and Kate were going there so their dogs could romp in the water. Dogs are not allowed at state bathing beaches -- but this particular beach is not an official bathing beach so the no dogs rule doesn't apply. (Rhode Island has miles and miles of beaches.)

After the dogs enjoyed their frolic, we went over to Galilee (only about two miles away along the coast but about five miles by car) to Champlin's for lunch.

I took this picture from the second floor deck at Champlin's -- the cars are parked in the Salty Brine State Beach parking lot, that is the high speed ferry to Block Island, and the long picnic table in the lower right corner of the picture is where we will be sitting in another half an hour. When I took this picture I was up on the second floor deck so I could spot the arrival of other members of our party. (For example, Jeremy joined us for lunch, as did Nancy's sister Janet and Janet's daughter Alison and Alison's boyfriend.

And here we are enjoying our sea food lunches... (And, as you can see, the fog is finally burning off.) Nancy and I both had white (i.e., "New England") clam chowder -- except she had the half pint size and that is my full pint container (the white container nearest to the camera... with the plastic cup of Sam Adams summer ale behind it) and Nancy and I also split a dozen small clam cakes (in that bag on her tray), niece Kate is having lobster, Jeremy (far end of table in white t-shirt) is having a "clam strip roll" -- a big mound of breaded fried clam strips piled on an overwhelmed roll (I may have to try that myself next time we are there). And so on... everyone seems to have personal favorites. (Why did we sit on the patio next to the parking lot instead of upstairs overlooking the water? Because of the two large dogs resting out of sight under the picnic table -- they wouldn't be allowed to join us if we were upstairs.)

And then that night brought the annual fireworks display at a town park (Old Mountain Field) in Wakefield (the largest village and the commercial center of South Kingstown).

This is a picture of part of the crowd as the band that has been providing entertainment has finished playing and in a few minutes -- following the singing of the National Anthem -- the lights will go out and the fireworks display will begin. Thousands of people fill the park and thousands more are watching from parking lots and along sidewalks and on porches and in the backs of parked pickup trucks and on roofs and looking out second floor windows and just about anyplace else that would give a view of the sky over the park. No fireworks photographs this time around (I did post some a few years ago) -- I tried a few shots but then put my camera in my pocket and just enjoyed the show. It was (as always) a first rate display with a rousing finale.

So... that was what the first four days of July held for us...

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