Our dog finds a lot to like in how Camp Sherman, Oregon celebrates the Fourth of July -- without fireworks, since the unincorporated town (just a few hundred full time residents) is nestled in the midst of National Forest land where the demonic canine-scaring devices aren't allowed.
I also enjoy visiting Camp Sherman on Independence Day. Also, any day.
My wife and I have a quarter-share ownership in a forest service cabin on the banks of the Metolius River. So we usually come to Camp Sherman once a month from about May to October, shunning the coldest part of the year in central Oregon.
Back in 2005 we stumbled upon a super-charming "spontaneous" Camp Sherman Independence Day parade. I shared photos and commentary in a blog post. Here's how the post starts out.
My vote for the nation’s most charming Independence Day parade goes to Camp Sherman’s 2005 bike trail event. This small central Oregon town is full of zany characters and beautiful scenery, both of which were on full display yesterday.
Laurel and I were riding our bicycles back to our cabin after attending the annual meeting of the Metolius River Forest Homeowners Association. Near the Lake Creek Lodge we encountered some paraders heading to the Community Hall that we had just left. They yelled, “Come join us!” We did, not wanting to pass up a parade.
When we got to the Hall this woman stressed that the parade was completely spontaneous, notwithstanding the evident care with which many of the participants had festooned themselves and their bicycles. She explained that plans for an official street parade had fallen through because of bureaucratic nit-picking, such as requiring a permit and what-not, so the Camp Shermanites decided to plan an unplanned parade on the bike trail.
Lo and behold, lots of people just happened to show up at the same time on July 2—red, white, and blued—kazoos in hand, ready to “sing” (using that term in its most generous sense) “You’re a Grand Old Flag” at the parade staging area. An award for creativity goes to this woman’s use of blue Superman trunks as part of her patriotic outfit.
This year in Camp Sherman, I found the Independence Day atmosphere equally charming, albeit parade-less. Riding my bike to the Camp Sherman store to get a newspaper, I discovered that a "natural artisan gelato" stand awaited the hot and hungry.
The gelato was popular. My strawberry/vanilla'ish mixture went down easy. Newspaper. Gelato. Pleasant bicycle ride. Simple Camp Sherman pleasures.
I love taking photos of the vintage gas pumps in front of the store. In the 1950's and '60s I grew up in a similarly small central California mountain town, Three Rivers. Both the store and the pumps bring back memories. Good ones.
Bicycling back to the cabin, I saw that a scarecrow man sitting on some old farm equipment had donned appropriate clothing for today.
Sure, there are plenty of places that are much more exciting on the Fourth of July. But I much prefer the peace and quiet of Camp Sherman.
As many times as I've walked this stretch of the Metolius upriver of the Tract C bridge (a lot), I'm always blown away by the beauty -- especially in the setting sun.
Happy Independence Day!