Bristol, Rhode Island is having its moment this week. It has the oldest running string of Fourth of July parades in the country; or claims to, anyway. We walked there on Sunday in the afternoon, and we saw a lot of people preparing for the parade already. It's pleasant there, with pleasant people in it.
There's a kind of pall over that town. I had met some people who were struggling to be merchants there, who have recently given up. They explained that the local business climate had improved enough after a long fallow period to tempt the local government to milk it, hard, for revenue. They were way ahead of themselves. There are a lot more empty storefronts now. And there were plenty of empty ones before.
It's interesting to walk through the ruins of previous civilizations. I wondered if that's what I was doing in Bristol, Rhode Island. July 4th is nothing. The parade is everything. But it's useful to remember that no-one went to the drive-in theater in the daytime. It's not the screen they came to see, but what was projected on it.
Me? It occurred to me that I'm looking at the blank, rusty screen among the weeds and the broken speaker poles now.