Joe Biden came back to Delaware today to take part in Return Day, there's no way I was going to miss that, even if it was a nasty, dark, rainy day. I dragged along my camera to see what I could see.
This is a photo of Delaware's Governor-elect Jack Markell, with my friends Claudia Walker and Rachel Southmayd. Young Claudia had plucked a flower while we were in the circle waiting for the parade and when Jack came over to shake a few hands, she wanted to give it to him. I could not quite catch that picture, but the three of them obligingly posed for me. Claudia is the daughter of my friends Kate and Geoff Walker. Kate runs the studio where my daughters dance and Rachel is one of the dancers, and is the eldest daughter of my buddy Andy. It's a small state.
Return Day is our biannual post-election gathering in Georgetown to close out the political cycle. Return Day dates back to early times when voters would travel to the county seat to cast their ballots and then return two days later to hear the results. These days it's a festival, a parade, a speech and the ceremonial burial of a hatchet.
This year's Return Day was not normal. Usually, Return Day is a laid-back affair at which politicians and voters mingle freely. There are numerous vendors selling food and drink. The parade is long and loose and fun.
Having the Vice-President-elect in the parade changes things. The Secret Service closed-down the town. We parked outside town and were bused-in. We had to go through a security check-point that was somewhat like airport security, if airport security was in a small tent set up on a sidewalk in the rain.
The were no vendors and no strolling politicians. The parade started late and was oddly disjointed. For security reasons, Joe Biden went first, and alone, and the rest of the parade had to wait until he was safely on the reviewing stand. He may have made a short speech, but if he did the PA system was insufficient to get sound to where I was standing.
The parade was smaller than usual, likely because of the weather and the security concerns. We heard that all participants had to be frisked. There were the usual politicians; tradition has them ride the parade sitting (in cars or carriages) with their election opponents. Christine O'Donnell, who had challenged Joe Biden for his Senate seat, rode alone.
Lattimer the Mouse was there. He's the new mascot of the state Department of state. Ironically, the guy standing next to me has "Lattimer" as his middle name.
There were antique fire trucks and cars. There were a few floats and more beauty queens, and princesses, than you could shake a tiara at. Did you know that there is a Mr. Delaware? and, of course, marching bands.
At the end, we were tired and footsore and wet. But we were part of a once-in-Delaware-history event.