I Love A Parade

31 08 2011

Every year since our neighborhood sprang up from open fields behind the high school, Labor Day Sunday has been THE BIG DEAL.  The township lets us block off our street so kids can run from  house to house safely to enjoy whatever activity or game is being managed by the different families on the block.  There are bubble-blowing championships, Mentos-CocaCola geysers, basketball free throw challenges, music, an enormous gathering of families and friends for community dinner, all capped off by our little town’s great fireworks extravaganza.

The official start to this celebration of family and friends is the kick-off parade.  Back in the late ‘90s, there were dozens of elementary-school-aged kids, so the parade was enormous.  Everyone decorated their wagons, bicycles, dogs; donned their finest red-white-and-blue and marched/rode/danced from one cul-de-sac to the other.  My Jessie loved this parade – looked forward to it more than Christmas.  Our wonderful friend Joe would dress his lawn wagon with American flags and comfy blankets and chauffeur her all over the neighborhood behind his lawn tractor like some suburban Cleopatra.

This year, a message went out from the organizers that they were considering skipping the parade “since most of the kids are older now.”  Oh, well, Jessie is not here anymore, so I have no interest anyway. WAIT ONE MINUTE! Those of us who remember the parades of years ago don’t have little kids now, so we tend to look at things in terms of our families’ current interests, BUT there are lots of new neighbors who do have little ones.  They deserve to make neighborhood memories, too.

Traditions, especially personal ones, are often looked at as chores.  As adults, we all easily slip into that mindset. Think back, though, to the big moments of your childhood.  For most of us that will take us to events that were on our family calendars from year to year to year.  Tradition is not living in the past; it is celebrating it, remembering it, and building on it.  It is worth the little (or great) effort to maintain the traditions that enriched us and to pass them forward.

Line up starts at noon on Sunday at the south end of the street.  Grab your flags and lace up your marching shoes!

Don’t you just love a parade?  I do.

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