Since my wife is a member of the statewide group Health Care is a Human Right, which advocates for a single payer system, I went with her to march with the small group of volunteers in the Annapolis July 4th parade.
My expectations were low. There were only 7 or 8 of us, wearing yellow T-shirts bearing the group’s logo, and carrying a collection of banners. I was hoisting one end of a heavy, awkward banner that read “We’re all in it Together,” that was bringing up the rear.
Just ahead of us was a smoke belching red antique fire truck, and a Las Vegas style costumed Elvis was just behind us. We started out near the Westin Hotel and ended at the foot of Main Street at the Naval Academy.
But as we marched, singing chants like “Everybody in, Nobody out, Health Care is a Human right.” the crowds cheered lustily for us all along the route. People nodding their heads, saying “Thank you for doing this,” and yelling at the top of their lungs.
It continued for the entire roughly mile and a half route, and I was both surprised and warmed by the reception for this small, rag-tag group.
As we descended Main Street toward the dock, passed Chick and Ruth’s Delly, the dark skies opened up and the rain gradually built into a crescendo. The gutters turned into fast flowing streams as I and my banner mate struggled to quickly break out our poncho and jacket and get them on without falling behind.
The last few blocks we went through a true gully-washer, but the crowds, now retreated under awnings and overhangs and umbrellas, kept right on cheering.
I felt really, really good, and the downpour ceased being a nuisance and became fun.
You should try it sometime!