We once lived in the Mayberry-like town of Parkville, MO. This place is so darn picture perfect it was once featured in Mid-Western Living magazine. (Like Southern Living for all y’all down South.) One thing I loved about Parkville was their Fourth of July celebrations!
They had the cutest little parade! It was just what you think a small town 4th of July parade should be. I have a great picture of Buddy when he was about 3 years old, waving a little American flag and standing in front of a white picket fence. The “floats” would go by and all involved in the parade would toss candy to the kiddos as they passed.
The fireworks in the neighborhood were professional grade! The walls of the house would shake from the bombs bursting in air and we would all oo and ah in the rockets red glare. Literally. It was like a war zone. The streets would be full of smoke. It was AWESOME!
Ever since Parkville I have forever been in love with the small town parade. Back in The Woodlands, Texas they had a little parade in their shopping plaza but it was really just a way for folks to advertise. I missed Parkville’s sweet ways so much that I would help Buddy and Bug decorate their bikes, wagons and scooters every year. We would call up our friends to do the same and send a flyer out to our neighbors to let them know there would be a little parade passing through at such and such a time. Neighbors would come out and cheer as the kiddos peddled by. It was as close as I could get to it.
Here we are now in the Foothills of Colorado. The whole state is on fire so, needless to say, there were no fireworks. There was, however, a parade! I was curious to see how the Mountain People did it.
Since my sons are in Cub Scouts they were going to get to participate. Tuesday they met with their pack (or den or whatever they are called) and they decorated a trailer for their float. Buddy and Bug were a little disappointed as they thought that they would be on a float with animatronics and such. They also thought they would be on TV. I had to explain that this was not the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade but a quaint small town parade.
The boys were determined to have some sort of big feature on their float. They went into the garage and worked away in the basement for hours.
“Mom! We need glue!”
“Mom! We need tape!”
I finally had to call them up for bed but I first had to see what they had been working on. There in the basement was a 2 1/2 foot tall Uncle Sam made from a box and legs of beer and coke cans. He was trashy. He was perfect.
The morning of The Fourth, Bug woke us up at 6 a.m. ready to go!
“I’m wearing my Lucky’s for the parade today Mom!” Bug excitedly told me as he shook his tooshy at me. His “Lucky’s” are not $200 jeans but his favorite pair of white boxer briefs.
“The Lucky’s are lookin’ good Bug. Please wear pants over them.”
Man took Buddy and Bug to the fire house where they were meeting the other Cubs. I was to come later. When the time came for me to leave I passed through the basement and there was Trashy Uncle Sam.
I called Man:
“I told the boys they couldn’t bring him because he was going to get too wet.” Man went on to explain that the scouts float was armed with water guns to shoot the crowd with. In the middle of the float was a huge trough of water for reloading.
Sometimes Man is too practical. I told him to be sure and have the boys look for me during the parade because I would have a special guest with me. I tucked Trashy Uncle Sam up under my arm and carried my date out to the car.
I chose a shady spot on the parade route where some friendly looking characters had also set up camp. There was an elderly couple that people referred to as Mom and Dad. Even another gray-haired gentleman called them by these names. Either they are that old or that’s just what everyone calls them. Mom had an oxygen canula in her nose that logically lead to a tank of oxygen. Lot’s of elderly cart these around up here. Mom complained about her seat being too soft and Dad groused that he took the hard one so that she wouldn’t have a hard seat to complain about. Mom snuggled closer to her oxygen tank and apologized. Dad then popped open a can of beer, though it was only 10 a.m.
“It’s noon somewhere,” he reckoned.
Later, a long-haired guy with a trucker cap pulled up on his ATV and parked next to Mom and Dad. I was absolutely thrilled! I text Shalah.
Me: You should see the Mountain People out here at the parade! They are throwing back beers at 10 a.m.! The only thing that thrills me more than seeing Mountain People in action is seeing real live midgets! (Little People.)
Shalah: Oh heck Lola, find a quiet corner and bite on a stick.
Me: No way! I don’t want to miss anything. Barefoot children just showed up!
Shalah: Dang it! Now I wish I was there!
I kid you not. This sweet little family walked up and joined our group. The parents looked like they just stepped out of suburbia with their clean preppy attire and the kids were in mismatched clothes and bare feet. The little girl did have on sox but the boy was walking on the gravel road with out a care. Maybe he has Hobbit feet. I was thoroughly impressed.
The parade finally started and I was not disappointed! A group of kids on dirt bikes raced through. A family of unicyclists! Trucks full of people who I guess just wanted to be in the parade, passed by and they tossed out a few bits of candy. Most everyone on a float had water guns that they shot at the spectators. The crowd was armed as well and they all shot back. I loved it! (I tried not to let Trashy Uncle Sam get too wet. I had to explain to many people as to why I had a Trash Man sitting with me.)
He might be 3 feet tall. Note: My children sprayed directly at me and then later told me they never saw me at the parade. I sat with Trashy Sam for nothing! All the Mountain People were probably talking about ME!
It was not a Parkville Parade. It was definitely not The Woodlands style either. The Mountain People do it their own way, to be sure! I am looking forward to next year and will be ready with a loaded water gun and a cooler of beer.
Disclaimer: It is with great affection that I refer to my neighbors as Mountain People. It is not intended to be mean or offend. If you see a dentist regularly you are not so far gone as to be considered REAL Mountain People. Great. I probably just offended someone again.