We were in a frantic race last week to complete my front yard beautification project so that it would look good when the Parade went by on Friday night. Not only would we be on display but everybody and their freaking brothers turn out for this event.
I have to admit that parades are not my thing. I could care less about them, but something about my first year in my new home in small town America made me want to set up my chairs on the front lawn before anyone else came by so that I could mark my place. It made me sweep my house and tidy up in case any of my friends needed to use the loo. It made me happy.
My brother was equally excited because he could park in my driveway and not have to walk anywhere and fight crowds. We could also walk over to the Carnival afterward and not fight traffic. Not a bad situation.
J's brother and sister-in-law also joined us with their new "child" Ted-E-Bear, a lovely golden retriever puppy with the largest paws I have ever seen on a little guy!
We tried to introduce my dogs - Cocoa and Beano - to the poor, unsuspecting puppy. Not a good idea. Beano damn snapped at him and Cocoa just wanted to become a piranha. Not pretty. So they were relegated to my bathroom to ride out the parade so we wouldn't hear the incessant barking! I did feel badly because I would have liked them out front, but they can't behave. I will have to try over the next year to do something. J seems to help also. That's cool.
Before the parade started there were already odd folks selling balloons and such. Some dude in a clown outfit trying to scare the kids into getting balloons or something. I didn't like him. Some other woman with ill-fitting pants (I am tall so I can appreciate getting pants that fit but it can be done. Get long pants. They do make them.) was also selling balloons. We didn't buy any.
My brother told us about the parade in Marilla a couple weeks earlier. He said it took 50 minutes. I thought, good lord, what on earth would take 50 minutes? Are you kidding? I can't watch firetrucks for 50 minutes? I will be crazy!
As we were sitting, a friend from high school I hadn't seen since my reunion walked by. She is married and has a little girl. It was nice to see her and chat with her. She looks good and is doing well. Then I saw the mother of one of my best friends. Again, we lost touch after high school. It was good to see her. Ironically, she lives in the apartments behind my house in one of them that faces my backyard! My friend will be in town next week so I will have to stop by. Funny.
I did get a kick out of people asking where I live. I just turned around and pointed. Who knew? Who knew I would return to Alden and like it?
Either I don't remember this from my childhood or it didn't happen, but parades have become advertisements for local businesses and politicians. Cars came by with signs asking that we elect so and so town supervisor or that we support the local vet clinic, etc. I was rather disturbed by this. Small town America succumbing to such tactics.
Granted, as I said, this may not be new. It could have happened when we were younger and I just didn't notice because I was busy catching the candy that was thrown from all the vehicles. We coaxed my nieces on as they raced into the street to catch the candy. In fact, I even encouraged them to plow over an old man who was catching candy for his grandchildren. Hey - old guy - make them do it. If they can't catch the candy, they shouldn't have any. I appreciate competition. Not everyone is a winner and if your kids can't catch the candy, they are losers!
It's good to see that I haven't been completely absorbed in small town life. I retained some of my city charm. I will say that my nieces did not manhandle the old man. They let him catch candy. I just glared at him.
As the parade was going through, there were fire engines and drum corps from every town and village within a 100 mile radius. At least that's how it felt because the 50 minute Marilla parade was put to shame with the over an hour Alden parade. I managed to amuse myself to get through it and actually enjoy it.
People also walked by handing out flyers to vote for so and so and whatever. One woman even walked by with a brochure for Christians. What is a Christian (the answer may surprise you)?, the brochure teased. Yeah, not so much. I didn't read it because I haven't found Jesus and I am ok with that. A side note - after talking to a friend of mine at a party the following night, she said that her brother recently relocated and found Jesus. If anyone needs him, he's in Erie, PA. FYI.
I also noticed the oddest people in the parades. I had to chuckle as I saw young girls walking in the parade counting. I remember when I was a member of the marching band (one time, at band camp). We had to count but were encouraged not to do it out loud or to move our lips. I laughed.
Another fire squad (or whatever they would be called) gave an ax to a young man who looked as though he wanted to use it. And not on a burning building. He carried it a bit too close to his chest with this "Here's Johnny" look about him.
I applaud our veterans but they are aging - fast. Some poor dudes looked as though they should be riding in a vehicle and I won't go into what kind of vehicle they should be in.
After the parade, we ventured over to the carnival and ran into even more people we knew. It was a regular reunion. I didn't talk to most because I didn't want to. I went to the carnival for fried dough, pizza, and a sno cone and I would not be deterred in my mission.
It was nice and I could picture taking my kids here someday. Getting on the rides with the kids as daddy waves on from the sidelines. Winning those strange prizes for them so they can fill their rooms with toys. Welcoming the carnies into town.
It was a great evening. I can't wait until next year! I may have a carnival/parade party and invite my friends! That would be fun!
In the spirit of small town America and small town appeal, Wild Mountain Organics adheres to its roots. We continue to use local ingredients and resources if at all possible and we continue to venture out into our towns and communities. Check out Wild Mountain Organics for yourself!