Sunday, May 28, 2017
Today I am grateful for anticipation. Some of you have already seen the stellar picture of Mr. & Mrs. Themselves at the parade yesterday in Harleysville, but for us there was very little anticipation. Not like these kids, bags ready, hearts pounding, bottoms twitching, waiting for the candy mobiles to drive by and toss them treats.
Whenever I go to a parade I am reminded of two other parades. Each time, every time. The first was when my oldest son was about two and his brother only a month old. That baby never slept, but he slept through the parade. His older brother was loving being with grandma and grandpa and his parents and new baby brother on the Fourth of July. There were floats and clowns and bands and he danced in the street with grandpa and was having a blast. No one threw candy because there was an ordinance against it.
By the time the old fashioned steam engine came past he was vibrating with excitement and covered in the pink cotton candy grandma had bought him. When the engine was directly parallel to the curb we were sitting on, the driver pulled the whistle cord and that thing let out a blast that could be heard across Lake Michigan all the way to the state of Michigan! My son screamed like the sound was a knife piercing his soul and climbed up grandpas leg and into his arms, leaving sticky pink patches all over my dad’s pants. He was still wailing when we got to the car two blocks away. Parade over for us. Yet the baby slept. For once. Go figure.
The second parade I always remember is the St. Paddy’s Day Parade in Killarney, Ireland. . .on the auld sod. . .a bunch of years ago. It was small, with the usual local folks decked out in traditional garb, a combine machine and plow from someone’s farm, complete with oxen and a couple of bands. Bagpipe bands. I’ll never forget it, nor the local people we stood near while it was going on. There was no candy tossed, but there might have been a pint or two, right there on the street corner. The Irish know how to celebrate.
For national holidays we dress up in our red, white and blue, sit on curbs, wait for candy and make memories to take away. But I didn’t get a picture of the stand-out one from this parade because I was caught up in experiencing it live.
One old man in a motorized wheelchair, driving it on the center line of the road, with a hand-painted sign on his knees that simply said, “WORLD WAR II VETERAN”. Everyone stood. Everyone. Including the kids who were anticipating more candy. No one prompted them. Sometimes the appropriate response is obvious. Even to children. I think I’ve added a third parade to my list. BING! Heartprint!