Yesterday was a holiday, and the milkweed plants celebrated by sending forth beaucoup billions of their fluffy white selves, until they covered the ground like snow, as you can see on the woodland way into downtown Northampton.
Equally annoying were the swarms of those evil little gnats that drive you insane by trying to land on your eyeballs. Wait, how dare I complain about such petty things on the day that we remember those who endured - and still endure - genuine hardship and even death for our freedoms.
In Pulaski Park the reggae band The Black Rebels were performing for free.
A lot of reggae sounds the same to me, although I realize that is considered blasphemy to say in some circles. In any case the drummer and bassist were really good.
There were lots of people dancing.
Hula-hooping is big in Northampton.
The usual Northampton characters were onhand, like the guy who calls himself "Uncle Sam the Homeless Man."
Ira McKinley was capturing it all for posterity.
I decided to climb the fire-escape on the Academy of Music to see what I could see.
Looking down on the hacky-sack players.
The partying crowd.
Hope you had a good one.
On Memorial Day Weekend they held the ceremonies for 419 Amherst College graduates. Here are some statistics released by the college.
• Nations and states represented by this year’s seniors: 21 countries (including Bulgaria, France, Guatemala, India, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Poland and Singapore), 33 states and Washington, D.C.
• Top five most declared majors: Economics, English, psychology, political science and biology.
• Theses completed by members of the Class of 2009: 220.
• Seniors whose mother or father (or both) attended Amherst: 51.
• Employers of the new graduates: Massachusetts Audubon Society, Poverty Action Lab, Metropolitan Museum of Art, government of the Republic of Singapore, Infosys Consulting, U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, Project Horseshoe Farm, Massachusetts General Hospital, Goldman Sachs, Teach for America, the U.S. Forest Service and Cravath, Swaine & Moore, among many organizations. Even in this challenging economic climate, members of the Class of 2009 are finding jobs, enrolling in graduate school programs, volunteering for nonprofits and taking the world by storm.
• Amount raised for the Class of 2009’s parting gift to the college, a donation to the Annual Fund: $13,633. $10,000 of that total is from an anonymous individual who would only give the money once 80 percent of the class had contributed; 82.2 percent of seniors have donated so far.
• Meals served on campus during commencement weekend: An estimated 5,500. The spread for all of the activities calls for 1,700 smoked turkey wraps, 500 vegetable wraps, 500 pounds of Southwestern corn and chicken salad, eight gallons of hummus, 2,400 pieces of Tuscan chicken, 800 pounds of vegan tortellini with roasted vegetables and 1,200 pounds of fresh fruit salad, among other goodies.
• Seats for graduation spectators: 5,000. That’s in addition to the 2,600 chairs and 300 tables that Amherst’s building and grounds crew arranges in front of Valentine Dining Hall for meals.
• Diplomas personally signed by Amherst President Anthony W. Marx: 419.
• Hours spent by the staff of the college’s registrar’s office rolling and affixing ribbon to every diploma by hand: About 25.
• Estimated amount of hand sanitizer available across campus: 3 gallons. The college is providing the antibacterial, waterless gels in two-, four- and eight-ounce containers and in dispensers in an effort to stem the spread of influenza germs. There will even be a dispenser on the stage at commencement for graduates who wish to disinfect their hands before receiving their diplomas.
• Graduates, friends and family members spending the weekend in the town of Amherst: Approximately 5,000.