Thursday, July 11, 2013

Holiday Parades

I missed the Fourth of July parade again this year, but just barely. I wanted to go, but I have this thing about parades. They scare me a little and usually make me cry.

I was in the marching band in high school so I got to march in several parades a year. I don't think they bothered me then because I was in the parade and didn't have to watch. From the tenth grade on I marched in the very front row on the left-hand side. I played a large brass instrument and it was a lot of fun. Maybe, it was from watching all of those Thanksgiving parades on TV that made me nervous around parades. All of those large inflated creatures that if there was just one wrong misstep could send their handlers floating off somewhere over the rainbow.

As I drove into town yesterday, tractor pulled floats with balloons flapping in the breeze, pickup trucks with 'Vote-for-so-and-so' and gleaming red fire trucks passed me coming the other way. When I reached the center of town it looked like someone had set a bomb off (wonder if they had a permit?). Trash everywhere.

Families were still milling around town clinging to their children's hands to keep them from running into the street to salvage any leftover thrown candy. I saw one child dart out into traffic, hit a pile of manure (EEWWW) left by a horse in the parade, pick up a piece of candy and slide across the road into the waiting arms of a very shocked parent. One parade judge was receiving medical attention because one of the parade participants had thrown an exceptionally large piece of hard candy at him and boinked him on the head.(I think they got last place.) I heard a little girl sobbing inconsolably because she hadn't gotten any of the candy thrown in her direction.(See a pattern here?)

As I was waiting to make a left-hand turn in the center of town, I was startled when I heard something beside me go bleep, bleep. I looked at all of my mirrors and couldn't see a thing. Bleep, Bleep, BBBLLLLEEEEEEPP!! All of a sudden, six very large clowns(I'm scared of clowns too!) jumped up out of the smallest motorized vehicle that I have ever seen and yelled, "Chinese Fire Drill".

The light turned green but I stayed put. Clowns were running beside me, around me, one even tried to open my door (good thing I had it locked) all jumping up and waving, one tripped over his feet, one pulled a flower from his sleeve, one honked his nose at me and one handed me a balloon in the shape of a wiener dog. As the light turned back to red, they hopped back into that car, made a right-turn and sped off.

I waited for the light to turn green and was shocked to hear a bleep, bleep once again. I looked up and saw that little car heading my way again and thought, "I don't think so." I didn't care what color the light was, I slammed that Mustang down into first gear, hit that pile of manure, hit the emergency brake, squalled the tires, and laid down a piece of rubber that would've made Old Number 3 right proud. I left those clowns choking and gasping in my dust.

I needed to stop and get gas before I left town and was a little uneasy when a guy in a clown suit pulled up at the next pump. He smiled at me and I just kind of looked away. I heard his cell phone ring and he began to talk to someone. I had finished pumping my gas and looked backed over at the clown. (He wasn't there.) As I did so, I heard a 'honk', I jumped out of my skin, turned back around and there stood the clown. "My friends just called and said you really made their day with that maneuver back at the light," he said. "They want to know if you want to go to the next town and be in the parade with them?" (Sign me up!)

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