Sunday, February 11, 2018

All Politics -- and Snack Foods -- and Parades -- are Local

Today is National Peppermint Patty Day in the U.S.. Having grown up in York, PA, I have a strong opinion about what should and shouldn't be called a Peppermint Patty. (The York variety distinguishes itself from squishy imitators by its distinctive "snap" when the patty is broken in two.)

In fact, York County in Pennsylvania is known as the Snack Food Capital of the World. Therefore, geographic prejudices influence my ideas about lots of foods:  Potato chips should bear a German surname and be kettle cooked; Crabs must be blue and of Chesapeake Bay origin; and Chocolate is Hershey's, never Nestle (even if most of Hershey's production has now moved to Mexico).

To paraphrase Tip O'Neill, all politics and all snack foods are local. And so, I would argue, are parades. Our south central Pennsylvania parades were entirely local affairs, drawing talent from no further than the county's borders, and honoring local veterans and football teams. Some of the high school bands' color guards included rifle twirlers, but that was it as far as any displays of military might went. The parades were a celebration of community, and just lining the streets to cheer our friends and neighbors and eat sticky cotton candy was reason enough to gather and briefly disrupt the dailiness of life.

Even if I were Washington, DC local, I doubt I could get behind the Dumpster's idea for a big parade down the streets of  the nation's capital, to celebrate . . . . what?

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