My children love parades. Not because they are community events in which all ages participate. Not because you can see the talents and efforts of community groups showcased in one place. Not even to see the shiny red firetrucks or for the old men in silly hats careening down the street in miniature cars.
My kids love parades for one reason.
A few weeks ago, our local town held its annual Firemans Carnival. One highlight of the week was the Fireman's Parade. Years ago, this parade boasted that it was the largest fireman's parade in the state. Having grown up in a similar rural town in the central part of the state, I beg to differ, but I digress . . .
The day of the parade was a dreary one. It rained off and on all day and it was kind of humid. About an hour before the parade was to begin, I had doubts about our attendance this year because we had a down pour. It soon was over and the place started to dry (and heat) up considerably. As a precaution, I made Erik pack up and haul our Eazy Up tent with us so that if it did rain, we could quickly set up a shelter. Erik did this for me without any hassle. I am so grateful for the fact that he rarely hassles me about anything.
We parked the car in a lot as close to the parade route as we could get and walked our way to the spot our friends had saved. We spread out our blankets, got out our chairs, snacks and drinks and waited for the local high school marching band to make its way down the street to kick off the parade.
My children waited in eager anticipation for the firetrucks. For they know it is the firemen that throw the candy.
Never mind that I have packed them a snack of "trail mix" and some popcorn. "We want CANDY!"
We will endure watching these silly men dodge in and out in figure eights down the street with bravado so we do not lose our spot to get some candy!
"Go ahead, Mister! See how close you can get to us. We're not moving unless you throw us some candy!"
Will sits patiently. His brother and sister have wisely advised him that people in the parade will throw him candy - for no particular reason - if he sits carefully on the blanket and waits.Soon the children realize that sitting patiently isn't going to cut it. They see kids across the street getting candy and understand that in order to compete, they are going to have to pull out all the stops. In a valiant effort to distract the candy throwing firemen from the candy hoarding hoodlums from the opposite side of the street, my children start politely waving and hollering out, "Hi Mr. Fireman!" DRATS! it still isn't working. It is time to get some attention! As the next fire truck approaches, they stand up and start jumping and waving. "Hello, Mr. Fireman! Hello! Thank you for trying to protect us from fires!"
"Just let us dash out onto the street here in front of you, big green fire truck, so we can pick up these fruit flavored tootsie rolls."
Will collapses in relief! "SCORE! The guys in the green fire truck threw us CANDY!!"