Shelter from the Storm or …Peace by Piece

433 Main Street
Stroudsburg, PA
March 21, 22, 23, 2003
The belated St Patrick’s Day Parade in Stroudsburg ("but isn’t the scenery just grand while you’re waiting?") led off about 1pm, Sunday afternoon, March 23, 2003, from Stroudsburg Area High School, at the far end of town, below Ninth Street (aka Rte 611), wound up Main Street, past the judging stand at the Best Western Hotel at Seventh Street (where Rte 611 goes down to I-80), and from there past Five Corners, where Rte 191 comes in at Fifth and Main, and just below which this year area artists had rented a storefront for a "Peace by Piece" show which kicked off with a wonderful – and crowded to the doors - party on Saturday night – all the French wine you could drink, both the red and the white – revenge! – and culminated in a poetry reading and music concert on Sunday afternoon, delayed, of course, until the huge St Patrick’s Day parade had wound its way past its doors

There was a minor disturbance at the beginning of the march when Marilyn Cooper, an activist/artist (and World Champion Tai Chi Master) marched ahead of the parade, carrying a big placard bearing a sign "No Blood For Oil!" and was flagged off the parade route by sheriff’s deputies for "creating a disturbance" by being roundly booed. Other than that,it was the largest St Patrick’s Day parade in recent memory, with half a dozen pipe bands – led off by the Leathernecks, the Marine Corps Pipe Band, and with the great Black Diamond Pipe Band from Scranton, PA, and the Pocono Region Pipes and Drums - wailing and thundering along.


The usual politicians were in attendance, of course, candidates for everything from candidates County Commissioner to Judge to Prothonatory, and there were gorgeous antique and classic cars galore. "Pets for Peace" marched along with Adopt-a-Retired Greyhound, and some beautiful rescue dogs, and of course a large number of volunteer fire company hook and ladder trucks beeping their sirens as they went along. Both the Stroudsburg Area HS Marching Band and the East Stroudsburg HS North March Band (the new school, up in the woods in Bushkill, whose nickname is "The Timberwolves") were out in force also, showing off their musical skills and flag-twirling expertise.

The US Army Reserve contingent was, of course, considerably down in numbers, due to the demands on their personnel elsewhere. The crowds sitting along the sidewalks were cheerful and happy, until The Friendly Sons of St Patrick, from Camden NJ, spotted the "No Blood for Oil" placard being held by someone outside the "Peace by Piece" storefront, and began to chant "USA Number One! USA Number One!" The chant soon died away in the Spring sunshine, however, as the fire-trucks came along bleating their sirens, and eventually when the parade had gone its way, the poetry, dance and music performance began inside the temporary gallery housing the "Peace by Piece" show for the weekend.
Poetry Dance and Music