Minus parade, hope marches on

I think the refugees currently living with my husband and me would have enjoyed Hinsdale's Fourth of July parade.

By "refugees" I mean my daughter, Amanda, son-in-law Drew and my 5-year-old granddaughter, Avery. The trio made a hasty exit out of New York City at the end of March, just as the COVID-19 crisis made life there too uncertain for them. After an anxious 12-hour drive across Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and on into Illinois, the trio arrived on our doorstep in the middle of the night.

We had agreed in advance that there would be no welcoming hugs or any conversations conducted less than 6 feet apart. For the next two weeks, we physically distanced and regularly disinfected.

Eventually, with happy sighs of relief and no signs of the virus, we merged our households and held the first of many family dinners at the same table.

Avery took all the upheaval in stride, adjusting to life where outside awaits just beyond the front door, as opposed to trekking from their apartment to the hallway that leads to the elevator that accesses the lobby that connects to the foyer that opens - whew - to the sidewalk.

Her presence here carries echoes of the days when her mother was a 5-year-old heading out the front door to help me plant flowers while spinning "let's pretend" scenarios.

Both Amanda and her younger brother, Jonathan, made appearances in Hinsdale's Fourth of July parade, Jonathan in his Little League uniform, Amanda in a princess dress. Other memories include the time I was puzzled by a costumed ... something ... accompanying Hinsdale Hospital's float. Sensing my failure to comprehend, my husband leaned in and helpfully explained, "Denise, I believe that's a polyp."

This year's parade, canceled due to concerns about the pandemic, will be missed by those of us who enjoy the lively celebration of patriotism and the chance to socialize with friends and neighbors. I'll even miss the politicians.

I recently found myself imagining how sweet it would be to see Avery tracing her mother and uncle's footsteps along the parade route: north on Garfield, west on Hinsdale Avenue and then south on Grant before finally disbanding - hot and sweaty - near Robbins Park.

Perhaps Avery would wear her "Frozen" Anna coronation dress. But surely it would be too hot for the matching elbow-length green gloves.

Yes, that's some crazy daydreaming. But picturing your granddaughter doing something as normal as taking part in one of the village's time-honored traditions doesn't feel crazy. It feels more like hope.

Who knows? Maybe Avery and that coronation dress - with gloves! - will make an appearance at the 55th annual Hinsdale Christmas Walk.

- Denise Joyce of Hinsdale is a former contributing columnist. Readers can email her at [email protected].