Thursday, March 21, 2019

the last book I ever read (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story, excerpt six)

from John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story:

Glass in hand, Joe Odom stood on the roof of his new home and looked down at the floats and the marching bands passing through Lafayette Square below. It was a perfect spot for watching the St. Patrick’s Day parade. From the rooftop, Joe could see green-tinted water bubbling out of the fountain in the center of the square. He could see crowds lining the streets wearing green hats and carrying big paper cups full of green beer. St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah was the equivalent of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It was an official holiday; the whole town turned out for it. There were to be more than two hundred marching units today, plus forty bands and thirty floats. A cheer rose up from the crowd as the Anheuser-Busch team of eight shaggy-hoofed Clydesdale horses trotted around the square, past the front of the house.

Like most St. Patrick’s Day parades, Savannah’s was an ecumenical affair. Blacks, Scots, and Germans marched along with the Irish, but this parade had a distinctly Southern flavor. At one point, that flavor took a bitter turn. A column of marchers dressed in gray Confederate uniforms came into the square, with a horse-drawn wagon bringing up the rear. The wagon had low wooden sides, and from the street it would have appeared empty. But from the roof we could see a blue-clad Union solider sprawled motionless on the floor of the wagon. It was a chilling tableau, the more so because it was meant to be surreptitious.

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