Saturday, January 29, 2011

I Love A Parade

I love a parade. There is one in our town every year that I don't miss. The American Parade.

We didn't get to town early enough, so we had to drive down Main Street right before they blocked off the road. Crowds were already lining the streets, in their red, white and blue attire and sunglasses. I saw a lot of shorts and white legged folk; it being the first true warm weekend of the season. At last that blasted wind has stopped blowing, the one that had been making everyone crazy for the past several weeks. Today we had calm breezes and blue skies.

I saw Deal's head, towering above the other people. My brother in law is well over six feet tall. Sure enough, there were his two little sons, and my sister in law #4 with the curly red hair. I could spot that hair anywhere. We hung a right and parked on an side road, hauling canvas chairs and a canvas bag full of snacks and cold water. Deal and Sister #4 were happy see us, and introduced us to all of their friends from the new church they were trying out. They seemed like very nice people.

Once seated, we coached the nephews on how to gather candy for us. I'd brought a big bag, too, so I practiced how I would hold it out to the candy throwers passing by. Older Nephew thought this was a great idea. Husband tried not to feel embarassed.

The parade was starting. The colorguard that contained the American flag stopped right in front of us. I felt that it was wrong for us to be seated while our country's flag was right there before us, so I stood. I noticed that the nephews and their little friends were standing, too. One nice little boy put his hand on his heart. I did, too. Other people around us began to stand up, and one by one old and young alike had their hands on their hearts. It was the right thing to do, after all. It put a lump in my throat to think that 'a little child shall lead them'. Indeed this one did. Any shred of decency would suggest that we honor what we have left of our patriotism...and for the noble men and women that have fought and are still fighting for our freedom. In God We Trust.

I looked around and saw a few, very visibly refusing to put their hands on their hearts. That made me sad. They, undoubtedly, were disillusioned with our country and our government.

What I salute is the original ideas. The Constitution. The Founding Fathers. The Promised Land. The sacrifices that went into preserving it for this long. I pray that it might be preserved for years to come, for my children to enjoy.

This was a solemn moment.

When the Veterans car went by, we stood again and applauded. Talk about a lump in the throat.

Then the bands from our three different high schools, followed by the politicians, most of which I've met with recently through the paper's editorial board. I have my own opinions on these candidates, and for the record I think I'm a great judge of character. I have my favorites. But when the gynormous motor home, the one that we've been seeing all over the state for the past couple of the point of pure nauseum--this is including right smack dab in our parking lots at our places of worship (parked by the road, for all to see), the one with HIS face and name plastered all over creation went by....I lost my cool (if there ever was any to begin with).

Surprising even myself, who had never so much as booed at a sports game, I put my thumbs downward as he passed by. Then, not being able to stand the spectacle of it, I stood up, turned around, and put my hands over my eyes. I realized that my heart rate was up, even. Such a strange reaction to one small person.

This guy comes from Big money. Big family name in the small town I grew up in, on the other side of the state. Big heads. Entitlement. Generally rude, the lot of them. And now HE wants to be the governor. I could hardly stand it. So much so that I acted without a shred of manners. Shall we say this struck a.... chord? I hate that it did; and am actually contemplating writing an anonymous letter of apology...just to clear my conscience.

On with the parade. Right after the politicians came the horses...and the manure. Lots and lots of it. I counted the seconds before the nephews took their minds off the candy long enough to notice and to say the inevitable...."EWWWW! LOOK AT THE POOP!" But Sister #4 beat them to it, and loudly pronounced that the manure on the street was DISGUSTING! That amused me so much more than if the kids would've said it. Sister #4 is a that made it even funnier. She was truly uncomfortable, having those mounds front and center, as it were. She no longer knew where to look.

I wondered who planned for the politicians to be followed by the manure....and if the parade committee perhaps had a great sense of humor this year.

Dave and Ann went by in their white 1960's Suburban. Ann is always involved in some community something or other. I yelled hello to her, and she waved back with her pretty, squinty smiling eyes. She's looked that way for years....smiling and happy and full of mischief. She yelled back at me, "WE RAISED EIGHT KIDS IN THIS CAR!" I loudly replied, "Wow, does Health and Welfare know about that?"

She didn't hear me....a shame. Ann would've enjoyed such a joke.

The nephews were doing a great job keeping us in candy. Husband and I discovered that we preferred the Tootsie Rolls over other offerings. The older nephew, a well-trained child, said a sincere 'thank you' to every candy thrower that contributed to his growing stash. That kid makes my heart melt.

Many sunburns and a couple of hours later, thousands of weary parade-goers made their way back to their cars on side roads, and inched their way through stop-and-go traffic to return to whatever it was they were doing that day. Soccer games. Grocery shopping. Yard work.

But for a couple of hours, our community came together to eyeball some creative floats, singing puppets, Elvis impersonators, beauty queens atop borrowed cars, manure-dropping dancing stallions, lying (sorry can't help it) politicians, and one stellar couple within the community that raised eight children in one white Suburban. And the majority of us stood together, with our hands on our hearts....for the flag.

I love a parade.

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