That Time I was in a Parade

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With temperatures in the triple digits, I will leave town with the masses in search of a cool breeze. But, we’ll be back so my son can participate in a festive holiday parade with his water polo team. I don’t know the specifics of his participation; if he’ll be walking or riding, chanting or hand waving. Since it will involve traveling on black asphalt, I know one thing. It will be hot.

I was in a Fourth of July parade once. I’ll never forget it. I was on the neighborhood drill team and, somehow, we ended up in the Fourth of July parade. Or, perhaps, we formed for the sole purpose of participating in the parade? I may have had something to do with getting the group together, although I would never claim that responsibility while we attempted to function as an organization.

I just remember the mad flurry to be in the parade and how excited I was. We managed to pull together a uniform: navy shorts, a white T-shirt (because we all had that one!) white gloves, and tennis shoes. We practiced our 8 counts of 8, and chanted the drill team cry: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8! With our voices rising with the 7-8, to start again. Over and over. And over. It was endless. Our jagged movements were in unison: a movement for every count, all angular, arms above, arms below, switching back and forth, one arm high, the other side, etc; we may have even included a side head. The next counts of eight were strikingly similar, but we rehearsed it all like mad so we knew it backwards and forwards.

Our parade route was 5 miles. You heard that right. A mega 5-mile hike! We must have been 8 or 9 years old, so the journey was a long one. Hey, it would still be a long one, even today. I remember going under bridges, up hills, through tunnels all behind a blaring marching band, who most people thought we were associated with. They stole our thunder, you see. But by mile 3 or 4, we were so delirious we just wanted to stop our 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-ing.

Monster blisters had formed on the back on my heels. I don’t know if our blue and white color scheme was chosen expressly for the Fourth of July parade or not, but by the end, we also had beet-red faces to complete the Fourth of July ensemble. We were red-faced, white and blue. I would also add brown because there was so much brown everywhere. All the many horses were brown, who left their shit, like little presents, all over the route. We attempted to tip-toe and chasse in a spontaneous re-choreographing of our routine all around the brown horseshit, as if we could fool anyone. Why would you bother with such a thing when you very nearly wanted to faint?

At some point, we arrived at the central parade area where we were to dazzle everyone with our performance, all red-faced and patriotic. We may have left out our chant altogether, gone half deaf from the blare of trumpets before us.

I just wanted it all to stop.

And, then it did. It went on entirely too long, but then it ended suddenly. Kaput, like in one big heap and we no longer had anywhere else to march. I was so so happy, so thrilled we did it. Who knew such misery could result in such joy and achievement. I’m certain I waved a flag at the end.

I’d show you a photo to prove I was there, but this was before we photographed every second of our lives. You’ll just have to take my word for it. I was in the Fourth of July parade, red (faced), white and blue.

Perhaps this photo of our local cattle run can serve as a stand-in. This is from the previous year, however. It was cancelled this year due to extreme heat and a high of 108. Yikes!

We don't want to piss him off, do we? We'll cancel, we'll cancel! Image source: Anne Stokes
We don’t want to piss him off, do we? We’ll cancel, we’ll cancel! Image source: Anne Stokes

I hope everyone who is celebrating has a Happy Fourth of July! Stay cool!

Have you ever been in a parade? If not, do you want to?

photo credit: Downtown Cannon Beach Parade via photopin (license)

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33 thoughts on “That Time I was in a Parade

  1. Haha, that’s a funny parade story! Red faced with blue and white clothing! I was kind of in a parade in 2002, it was the Queen’s golden jubilee, and the kids from the playgroup where my daughter went were taking part in a parade for that, dressed up in royal clothes, and because they were little, us parents had to walk with them, so that kind of counts as me being in a parade!

    We’ve had high temperatures here this week for the UK, yesterday was our hotest July day on record at 98F (our hotest day on record overall was an August day in 2003). I love it, but not so much when it’s a work day and I have to be in the office! Today I am off and they are predicting storms, ah well.

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    1. Your parade experience totally counts in my book, Vanessa! I may be walking along side the parade this weekend with my son, and I’ll say I was in the parade, too. I’m thinking they may be riding, however. No five-mile hike for them. It’s going to be so hot. I hope you can get outdoors on a non-stormy day. I was outside for a minimal amount of time and there was a fire, so it was really smokey. Heat and fire isn’t a good mix either. We need a nice, pleasant day. That’s what we need! Thanks for stopping by, Vanessa.

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  2. Stay cool, Amy! 108? Ugh…I saved a picture from this winter : -26 temp reading as a reminder for me not to complain this summer. No parades for me…ever. Sounds like pure torture! Happy 4th, enjoy your mini-get-a-way!

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    1. It was torture, yet satisfying somehow. Oh brother, right? Needless to say, I didn’t want to be in another parade for a long time!! Today it’s only 97 and cloudy! In fact, it rained a little. That’s more like it. The summer is always hot and it seems to get hotter, but then there are days like today. I guess I shouldn’t complain either. But -26? Brrr….you can complain. Happy 4th to you, too! Have a good one. And, thanks.

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  3. Would you consider that your first public dance performance?

    I’ve been reading about your heat. Do you know who else is frying? London. Record heat for those guys. Good thing we blasted a giant hole in the ozone layer or we wouldn’t have this interesting weather.

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    1. No, this isn’t even my first. Hmm…I did a couple of recitals before this I’m sure. Or, maybe not?! Maybe it is my first? You think I would have mentally stored that away somewhere, but to be completely honest, I don’t know! Now, I want to know.
      It seems boring to always talk about the weather or what day it is. I know, I know. But 108? This isn’t Death Valley, but it feels like it! I didn’t know London was frying. That makes me feel better.

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  4. 108? Whew … a tad a warm … actually OUCH!

    The Tournament of Roses Parade is 5.5 miles. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is 6.5 miles. What the heck is your hometown doing at that distance?

    Nonetheless, cheers to the memory … and I think my first parade my have been riding a bike in the Memorial Day parade.

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    1. I have no idea why they would plan such a treacherous parade route!! Halfway through I kind of wanted to walk out. But I kept with the team. I should see if my friend has a picture? I might have to ask her. Thanks! Cheers to your parade memory. Riding a bike sounds like more fun!

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    1. You must join some parade this weekend, Mark! C’mon. Just jump in someone’s car who’s in the parade! I’m disappointed, too. I’m sorry the bull did not do the trick. 🙂 I may ask my friend and see if she has a picture, because it would nice to have.

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      1. Suggesting that I should just jump in someone’s car for a parade is like suggesting a tiger should change it’s stripes. 😉 But, you know … I am trying in small ways and big to change the course of my existence. Hmmmmmmm…….

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      2. Okay, well….maybe it should be someone you know. Do you know anyone?? At least in parades, you can be kind of anonymous, so long as you’re not the Queen of a pageant or something, right?

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  5. Several years ago when my sons were younger, they marched with their Boy Scout troop in a parade. They started enthusiastic and ended up sweaty and mute. Considering I was out in the heat as well, I probably wasn’t much more presentable! But as you say, there’s a certain pride you get when finishing. Happy Fourth to you!

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    1. It’s funny how that happens. Oh, you’re so excited and then half-way through, you’re like I can drop dead now? Oh yes, the boy scouts. How fun. I bet you look back on it as a fun experience! Thanks! Happy 4th, Carrie!

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  6. I’ve never been in a parade, Amy, but now I’ve joined in on yours I’m exhausted! It sounds like you we’re performing to an inch of your life. Those monster blisters are a killer xxx

    Have a Happy Fourth of July and stay cool! 😉

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    1. I just remember wanting to drop dead, Dianne! I felt like I was being tortured, but I made it. I guess, in the end, it was one of those bonding and growing experiences. I think blisters are one of the worst things ever. They’re pretty painful when you have to keep going. Thanks, Dianne. Today is much cooler. We even have raindrops! It’s all so strange. 🙂

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  7. I’ve been in more parades than I care to count: St Patrick’s, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving…all the holidays & some just for shits & grins. It’s so exciting until it starts, and then it’s choreography misery. I don’t even go to them anymore. If I never see another parade it’ll be too soon.

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    1. Wow, Melanie! You must the parade master. The parade expert! That’s a whole lot of parades. I can see why you maybe avoid them?! Parades are fun when they’re short, the weather is pleasant, and you don’t have to do any dance routines! None of those things ever come together. Happy 4th to you. I hope you’re not near any parades.

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      1. The parades I was in were anywhere from 3-5 miles, in temps from freezing to boiling. I was in a Pom-Pom squad, so it was all dance and marching toe-heel, toe-heel. It was exhausting! I don’t remember them being fun, but I did like the attention.

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  8. Holly cow, Amy. About your parade route, not the stand-in photo. I can’t believe 8-year-old, red-faced, blister-heeled you made the 5-mile parade route! Way to go, young patriot!! You had big reason to feel pride at the end of that July Fourth ideal. 1-2-3-4-6-7-Great!

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    1. Wasn’t that crazy? I’m not sure how I survived, Mark. I had to keep remembering it’s just a parade and, like all parades, it will end! I did feel proud of myself. 🙂 Happy 4th, Mark! Have a great holiday.

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  9. Never been in one… and I don’t think you’re exactly selling the experience here. I think I’d probably prefer to stay on the periphery, maybe leaning against a wall and sucking back some rye. You’re welcome to join, of course…

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    1. What?! I’m not selling it? You don’t think so. That wonderful feeling…at the end?! Ha. I’d gladly join you in leaning against a wall, sucking back some rye. Sounds like the beginning of a good poem. 🙂

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