Friday, July 6, 2012

Nice 4th of July

We had a nice 4th of July/Old Home Day, with the stars aligning just right in terms of weather. In fact, we were lucky to have such great weather. A&N were so excited about riding their go-karts in the parade, and A went to great lengths to get costumes together to go with their racing team, probably more so than her teammates. Now her buddies, A&I, were not really that involved in the team, and didn’t partake that much in the building of the go-cart, nor were they even there for the actual race. The two kids who took their place, E and A, couldn’t ride in the parade because of prior commitments, so A and I were back in the picture, but I didn’t get a sense that they were even that into it.

This meant that A’s enthusiasm and efforts were probably not as appreciated to the extent that they deserved, but that’s the price you pay for being a leader. You just can’t get everyone on board all the time. Not that this was a problem, because A did a great job getting things together, and the parade was a lot of fun. There was a constant threat of rain, and the night before, it poured pretty much until the sun came up. I was in bed listening to the rain, thinking about how disappointed A was going to be, but it cleared up, and if anything, the rain cooled things down to a tolerable level.

Now this year was the first where I was taking over as marshal, whatever that means. The previous marshal, JM, is one of the larger than life people in this town, and he did a great job of getting the whole thing in working order. I don’t know why he thought I would be a good replacement, but that’s how it worked out. He was there to help, and BS and I took the reigns. It’s fairly straightforward, my job was to just get the parade in order and let it run, though that can be easier said than done, especially when you’re dealing with large groups of people who all have their own interests in mind.

It is, however, a fabulous parade, especially for a small town, and what’s crazy is that it seems to be growing with time. There were so many people, and we broke with tradition and got started late because traffic was not blocked when it was supposed to be blocked. Plus, there seemed to be an inordinate number of tractors in the parade, all for the big tractor pull.

One nice thing about being marshal is that you get the parade going, and once the last car (the town constable) heads down the route, my job was done, at least until next year. I have 364 days to put it out of my mind, I think. There were loads of people along the parade route, and it was truly a festive atmosphere. I caught up with R and we had no idea where the kids were, probably with a bunch of other kids running around like crazy. We told them to meet us at the library at some point to drop off the go-kart, and then they were free to do as they pleased.

They did a great job, very responsible, and we met with them for about 5 minutes before they were off and running, once again, with N heading immediately to the tractor pull, and A going off to find her buddy, who actually left the grounds to go home, though we weren’t aware of this. The scene was a the usual madhouse, but in a fun and festive way. We saw many of our friends and neighbors, which is really nice when you live in a small town, and there was plenty of food and fun, though it can be exhausting.

If not for the kids, I’d probably just stay at home, but again, it is nice to see all the good people that make this such a wonderful community. Plus, if you just take it slow and find a nice shady spot, you’re fine. At some point we had to eat, and as you can imagine, this isn’t easy at a big summer festival. There were plenty of hot dogs and fried offerings, but what saved us were the tamale people, L&M of Mama Tina’s. They have these killer papusas that are basically corn meal patties with beans and spinach that are then covered in this killer cabbage salad and salsa. One of my favorite things to eat, and definitely on the healthy side. Plus, the kids love them, so we have a winner.

We also broke from our healthy eating by having pie afterward. I mean, come on, it’s summer, and kids have to have sweets on the 4th of July. We ended up hanging at the tractor pull for most of the day, with the E’s joining us. It was a really nice time, and by early afternoon, it was time to go home and rejuvenate before the big night with fireworks. Again, there was the serious threat of rain.

We went home and chilled out, with dad taking his customary nap. At some point, I mentioned to the kids that there was an open stick at UA, and A was ambivalent, but N was enthused, so the guys headed over with skates and sticks in hand. It was fun, we saw several of our friends, though it was a small crowd on the ice. This works out well, because even though we don’t have enough for a game, we all get to practice handling and shooting the puck. Plus, BP was there, and he’s a goalie, so N got to practice his shot.

After open stick, we headed back home and got ready for the fireworks. Now I don’t know what the plan was, but A’s buddy, A, was nowhere to be seen. I had a sense that she had other plans, and A had no idea what they were. It worked out, however, because her other friend, CH, called, and he and DH came and picked up A&N and they went to the fireworks together. The plan was for mom and I to join them later, even though the storm clouds were rolling in.

There was definitely rain and lightning in the forecast, so we were racing against time. When we got there, the crowd was lighter than usual. We caught up with DH, found a nice spot to watch, and waited. There was a good group of kids playing, and though A’s buddy was absent, her other friends were there, and they all managed to have a good time. If anything, I for one think it worked out for the best.

In a brilliant move, the powers that be set off the fireworks a little early, around twilight, rather than waiting until it was completely dark. In fact, it took us by surprise, because we weren’t expecting it. It was a great show, and afterward, we really broke with our eating plan and had ice cream. The kids were thrilled, and just as we were walking to the car, it started to rain. Talk about timing.

We got home, got ready for bed, and bid adieu to a really great 4th of July. Small town life, you gotta love it.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Timefortea3, michael_h_reed and Srichand Pendyala for the pics.

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