Olive Street, Jonestown, San Diego black activists, Sherley Williams, the blind, the fat, the author's family
Jangchup Phelgyal 8:30 a.m., May 26
For decades, the annual Independence Day parade has been a cherished tradition of La Jolla's Barber Tract, the tony oceanfront neighborhood where GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney maintains a beach house getaway.
Residents decorate their historic houses in patriotic bunting, get decked out in red, white, and blue, and dress up as Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam.
Some sport flag-motif speedos and body paint, drive golf carts festooned with Old Glory, and parade their dogs in balloon-bedecked strollers. The day is capped by a banquet of watermelon.
In short, the Barber Tract on the Fourth seems the ideal venue for any baby-kissing, red-blooded American politician.
But this year, on the eve of Romney's possible presidential nomination, the parade is in danger of being called off.
According to sources, the bad news began circulating around the Barber Tract in a notice this week:
"For longer than 23 years...we have gotten together at the epicenter of our neighborhood and with music, laughter and joy to celebrate the independence of our great nation.
"This year we do not have a volunteer to host this wonderful event, and thus it may not happen.
"Does this reflect the mood of the country? Is patriotism dead? Is nationalism extinct?
"...If no one steps up to host the parade: then there will be no parade this year.
"Possibly the USA is as doomed as Greece!"
Reached by phone this morning, Judy Cole, president of the Barber Tract Neighborhood Association, confirmed the worst.
"People just don't seem to want to volunteer these days," said Cole, who is seeking someone to step foward and run the event, along with a few other workers to take orders.
"Just one chairperson and a couple of helpers to get the watermelon, cookies, and balloons, and coordinate all the events."
The possiblity of cancelling the parade, she said, "is just breaking our hearts."
According to Cole, the Barber Tract includes 250 houses and the association has about 100 members, each paying $35 in annual dues.
Romney belongs to the group, she said, and though he hasn't been sighted recently, manages to keep in touch.
"He sends his check in and writes notes about certain things he's concerned about...security issues," Cole said.
"We get a lot of graffiti," she added. "We don't have [private] security in our neighborhood anymore...and there are a lot of drug issues going on at the beach."
Romney's position on cancelling the Fourth of July parade isn't known.
"I thought about writing him a letter, saying 'Hey, Mitt, how about you volunteering?', but he's pretty busy right now."
Pictured: Romney house in La Jolla