Alas, peeps, I will be away from the keys, through the end of the week, on business in The City of Brotherly Love. I know, when people think of Philadelphia, they usually think of Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Ben Franklin, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. All that makes perfect sense, but you ought to leave some room to think about Mummers String Bands.
Years ago when I was a yoot, my parents took me to Philadelphia to see the Mummers Parade on New Year’s Day. I recall that it was absolutely bone-shattering frigid that day. The temperature didn’t bother the string bands much, because every band was followed by a station wagon full of booze.
As I recall, damn near half the people in Philadelphia seemed to have a load on and virtually everyone in the parade was shitfaced. In the parade, between the string bands and floats, regular peeps, some in clownish costume of varying degrees of completeness and some in street clothes moved along.
The common thread running through the all the marchers in the parade was the Mummer’s Strut – an arms raised walk/dance (a tad like Jackie Gleason’s “Travelin’ Music” dance) that rhythmically propels the drunks down the street. (The guy walking in front of the band in the You Tube clip above has it down.) I recall seeing one guy in the parade (wearing sort of a clown hat), who was obviously plastered, do a face plant on the street. His only-slightly less stewed buddies dragged him to his feet and saw too it that he got right back to strutting.
These two guys appear to be practicing for January 1.
I loves me the Mummer’s Strut.
Play nice while I’m away.