Saturday, July 19, 2008

Go, Children! Run into the street!

Today, against every parental sensibility, we encouraged our children to run with abandon into the street. We do this every year, just after noon on the Saturday of the weekend that comes two weeks after Independence Day.

Today was the Borough Days parade, kicking off our local two-day festival. The parade is… oh, some might say rinky-dink. It features clowns, local politicians, a very small marching band, a couple of kids’ drumming and baton twirling troupes, a dance group (that somehow never seems to be, you know, dancing when it passes us, even though the route is less than a half-mile long?), and fez bedecked Shriners joyriding on their snazzy ATV’s, the kind equipped with an extra wheel in the back for popping wheelies. And, of course, the backbone of the parade: fire trucks and rescue vehicles of every size, shape, and color of the rainbow, all with horns blasting and sirens wailing. (Ok, so there are no violet fire trucks, but let me tell you that powder blue does make a fire truck look almost pretty.) And the best part! Many of the paraders throw candy in the direction of eager kids along the route. Hence the encouragement to my kids that feels so very strange coming out of my mouth. My kids react as if we never, ever, ever allow them to have candy except on this day.

Rinky-dink or not, we faithfully attend the parade every year. We kind of don’t have much choice. It passes right in front of our house. The arrangement actually has its advantages for those among us whose sensibilities are most offended by the rowdy vehicles, and tend to prefer watching the parade like this...

... and may want to move up to watch from the front porch. Or maybe from inside the house, near the window. Or perhaps may even prefer to retreat to the far interior of the house with their hands placed staunchly over their ears in attempted denial of the whole traumatic event. It’s good to have options.

The parade progresses to the end of the street, where the festival commences. Again, it’s nothing spectacular, but a nice something-to-do. There will be a talent show this year, along with a band playing each night, booths selling food or running games to benefit local groups, and crafters selling (?) their wares. Somehow these wares usually are comprised largely of anything that can be made from crocheted doilies or plastic grids stitched with yarn. I had no idea that there was a market for such things. While walking past them, I usually nudge my husband and hint that July is not too early to begin his Christmas shopping for me. Then I make triple sure that he knows I’m kidding.

The grand finale will be the fireworks in the park tomorrow night. I could watch them from a blanket in the park. I have a feeling, though, that I’ll be watching them over the trees, from an upstairs window, inside the house. Or perhaps I’ll even prefer to just read Fancy Nancy in the back room and try to forget about the whole booming thing. I'm sure Girly Girl will let me know what I prefer.

It’s good to have options.

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