Uncle George’s Zipper Parade

The Beach Bistro hosted another St Patrick’s Day Parade in March.

The Parade was HUUGE…of inaugural proportions.

I come from a long line of parade enthusiasts. My family’s favorite was what we called “Uncle George’s Zipper Parade”.

It all started with George’s baked beans.

My Uncle George loved putting rum in his cooking. His beans were particularly lethal. 

George got the beans and pork and brown sugar going in a huge iron crock on the stove. Then he turned it down low and loaded in the rum. He built a hardwood fire in a hole in the backyard. When the fire turned to coals he took the cast iron pot from the stove and put it in the hole and covered it with gravel and sand. The pot would bake all day and then cool through the night.

It was the original Nova Scotian slow cooker.

Losing the rum’s alcohol in the cooking drove George crazy. It seemed a terrible waste.                  

The last time he cooked his beans he decided to try to seal the alcohol in by wrapping the crock in a space age aluminum blanket he bought to keep warm at hockey games.

He sealed the whole thing up with duct tape and put the crock in the hole with the red hot coals.

George washed down all that cooking and digging with a couple of beers. The beers necessitated taking relief through the back fence into McGillicuddy’s yard.  Uncle George and McGillicuddy had been bickering all of their lives. He and McGIllicuddy were forever peeing back and forth through that fence.

When the beans exploded the blast scared the bejeezuz out of George. He zipped up real fast and caught a bit of his equipment in the zipper.  No amount of cussing or jiggling or dancing around could get him uncaught.

Reluctantly, George called Cousin Mike the Doctor. Doctor Mike was in charge of the emergency room at the hospital.

Doctor Mike immediately appreciated the gravity and potential for levity of George’s dilemma. He called about a dozen cousins over to the house to evaluate George’s condition and consult on a course of action. Cousin Mike also administered healthy doses of Nova Scotian black rum to moderate the cousins’ stress levels. Cousin John was appointed to keep me abreast of developments by phone.

After some considerable rum-medicating and muffled giggling the boys resolved to transport Uncle George to the Emergency Room by ambulance. 

Because of the urgency of the situation, Cousin Tommy, the police sergeant, called in a couple of squad cars to act as escort.

Cousin Glenn the fire inspector got a pumper.

Uncle George and his zippered appliance moved off in a parade of sirens and flashing lights and horn-hooting cousins.

Because of the sensitivity of George’s condition the parade proceeded at a cautious pace – past all of the family’s houses on the way to the hospital.

My grandmother had ten kids. It was a longish parade.

When George finally got to the hospital Cousin Mike had arranged for the alert attention of the entire emergency room staff.   Cousin Tommy the cop had called his Dad Uncle Tommy the press photographer so the paper’s subscribers and the town’s citizenry could be kept abreast of developments. Photographs of our first responders and Uncle George as a tragic victim were preserved for posterity in the family’s Christmas gift calendar.

Uncle George was safely extracted from the zipper. The celebration of this medical miracle went on into the wee hours.

The parade was appropriately covered in the home town papers.

The parade crowd was reported to be in the millions. Huuuge.

Sean Murphy is the Head Coach of the incredibly talented team that runs the Beach Bistro, it’s little sister Eat Here and their new craft cocktail bar, The Doctors Office. Some of his articles can be found on the Bistro’s web-site, or calling 941-778-6444

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Sean Murphy

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