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austin_dern

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Feb. 8th, 2017

Next major event that happened around our parts was the Silver Bells In The City parade. But I covered the important part of that when it happened because what had been a nice and surprisingly warm night in downtown Lansing turned into a downpour, and that was such a great spectacle. There'll be more pictures of the thing, but I already put some up on my humor blog because we are still laughing about this spectacle and it'll be the first thing anyone says about Silver Bells in years to come.

Through to the point that all the rain in the world landed on us and came into my boots it had been a fine day, though. We'd got off to a later-than-ideal start. And we drove, a dubious choice for something under three miles away when it's 70 degrees out (and this was somehow mid-November). Worked out great, since it would be maybe January before the rain finished, but that's what they call moral luck rather than good judgement.

We'd started out at the City Market, which used to be a farmer's market and recently lost its accreditation as one. That means food stamps couldn't be used there. But there were few enough, you know, farm goods being sold there it didn't make much difference. City Market's been having some rough times; while it's got a successful bar and a few specialty shops, nothing seems to be lasting very long. Also they lost the crepes place, although since that opened somewhere downtown(?) that's not a bad development, except that we don't know where it is.

The little street market village that they put up for the event was its usual self too. We got this year's Silver Bells tree ornament and didn't lose it despite the chaos of fleeing to not be crushed beneath a mountain of falling water. Also got some hot cider. I think we got a bag of popcorn too, although I also have a memory of popcorn disappointment. Maybe the kind we wanted wasn't there. I think we had plans to go back to the street market which were aborted when the rain broke the city.

But really, the high point of the evening was the five-foot-tall star topper on the state tree. Rumor has it that Michigan has to go for smaller trees these days, as it's relocated to a spot that doesn't allow for quite such big trees. So the topper might be meant to compensate for the trees being smaller. After the squall blew through, blowing away the parade and cancelling the tree-lighting, though, the topper was still there. Knocked about thirty degrees off vertical, listing drunkenly north-ish. A couple people in reindeer costumes were taking pictures, and having pictures taken, in front of the storm-wracked tree.

They cleaned things up and held a tree-lighting ceremony the next Tuesday, when we were at Lansing pinball league for the Zen Tournament, which neither of us won. The parade was blown away before quite all the marching bands had their chance to perform, so we don't know who won the $1,000 award for best band. The last one to perform, who did their routine despite it all in a storm minutes away from authorities demanding everyone find safety, would be the crowd favorite certainly. But that doesn't tell us exactly what did happen. Maybe they'll mention next year, before it rains.

Trivia: The signature of Thomas McKean, of Delaware, does not appear on the official version of the Declaration of Independence issued by the Continental Congress in January of 1777. It is not known when he signed; it's thought he signed possibly as late as 1781. Source: Signing Their Lives Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the Declaration of Independence, Denise Kiernan, Joseph D'Agnese.

Currently Reading: Tubes: A Journey To the Center Of The Internet, Andrew Blum.

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