Saturday, September 12, 2009

BEEyond the Hive: An Old-Fashioned Parade

As a child, I loved watching and participating in my small town's parades. What a thrill it was to sit along the curbside and anxiously wait for candy to be tossed by kids and adults riding on floats, Shriner clowns on their silly bicycles, and cowboys and cowgirls on their horses. With candy scattered along the road, we kids would scramble to our feet and dash this way and that to collect as many pieces as possible. At the end of the parade, we would peer into our bags and gloat over the treasures we accumulated.

As much as I loved parades as a child, I realized a couple of years ago I had rarely attended parades as an adult. But why? Perhaps it was because I became too busy to slow down and enjoy an old-fashioned parade. Or maybe that youthful spirit I once had disappeared for a season.

But it's amazing how having a child often draws out the inner child within us. About two years ago, my family and I ventured to our downtown area for a parade, my first in many years. My son was about 18 months old at the time, and I wanted to share the merriment of parades with him. I soon rediscovered how much I loved parades as the long procession of marching bands, floats, dancers, cyclists, horses, and other participants promenaded past us.

Unable to attend my town's annual Harvest Festival parade last September, I yearned to be there for it this year. At around 9 a.m. this morning, my husband, mother-in-law, son, and I lined up on a curb along the parade route. Within minutes, we were waving at firefighters in their trucks, clapping as marching bands finished their musical performances, and pointing at pieces of candy for my son to collect. We marveled as Mexican dancing horses tapped their hooves to a tune played by a Mariachi band, dancers and gymnasts dazzled us with their twirls, lifts, and back flips, and firefighters accentuated the somber beauty of the bagpipes and drums. Three hours later, the last act strolled past us, and I felt delighted to have been a part of the event.

As I pondered on my parade experience this afternoon, I realized one of the reasons I love parades is they draw me closer to my community, allowing me to witness the playful side of those who live in my town and to see their kindheartedness. During the parade, two kids sitting next to us on the curb picked up pieces of candy and shared them with my son. It warmed my heart to see such generosity from the younger generations in my town.

I also observed parades are timeless. I found few differences in the parade I watched today from the ones I enjoyed as a child. Even with the major technological advances over the last 30 years, hometown parades still have an old-fashioned flair to them. They are simple, yet fun celebrations that bring communities together. And perhaps that I why I loved them when I was a child and love them now!

No comments:

Post a Comment