That was the official parade and after that anyone and everyone could join in. Tots on trikes, boys bashing garbage can lids, majorette wannabees, all proudly strutted those 10 blocks. Families watching from their front porches would fall in behind pulling Radio Flyer wagons carrying picnic baskets, blankets and babies, ready for the speeches, the games, music and the booths selling cookies, pies, home made ice cream, and sweet tea, all for sweet charity. Darkness brought the fireworks, OOOOOOOOOOOOOhhhhhh! AAAAAAAAAAAAhhhhh. Then the long trudge home, hot, sweaty, sunburnt, tired, proud and happy.....we were the USA.
Saturday, July 4, 2015
In our little town the 4th of July was a very big deal. The Parade formed behind Court House Square, looped around, and proceeded past our house, past the church, and marched the entire length of Pleasant Ave. to where the street dead ended at the park. The Mayor lead the way in a convertible borrowed from whichever dealership had the biggest, brightest and shiniest car to loan. A big hand painted sign hung on the car door told which entrepreneur lent his best. Next came the Homecoming Queen and her court, in another borrowed vehicle, followed closely by the High School Marching Band. The Sheriff rode his big black horse, his son was mounted on a prancing pony and behind them followed the boys from the farms and ranches surrounding the town. All tossed hard candies and suckers from bags hanging from the pommel of the saddles. Nest the 4 H winners lead their prize winning calves, goat kids, lambs, or carried the hen, bunny or goose that had taken the fair by storm. The clowns followed with pooper scoopers and silly antics. The Shriners rode bicycles in intricate patterns they practiced all year, weaving in, out, round and back, making the crowds gasp at the near misses. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts rode hay wagons, waving and singing camp songs. A local Barbershop Quartet sat in the back of a pick-up truck singing SWEET ADELINE.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
The old road from Aurora, through the outskirts of Springfield, led past the WigWam Motel, out and across the cricks, through the crags, bluffs and and over the hills. Red and gold in the fall, paynes' gray, dun, and dull black in winter, forest green on hunter green on olive green in summer and a miracle of dogwood, ground roses and apple green in spring. About three quarters of the way to Union, in the midst of towering pines and overwhelming cliffs a weathered, hand painted board was impaled half way up a preposterous hill. It read "hot biskits and honey". At the top of the hill an ancient black iron stove sagged on three legs outside of a rickety old cabin. No one ever appeared at the sound of our motor. No dog lounged on the falling porch, no chickens scratched about the yard and no granny woman pulled "biskits" from the rusty oven. Daddy always promised that "next time" we would stop and climb to the top of the ridge. We never did.