"Yes, Mom, please, please, please can I be in the parade??" said the six year old. "Sure, you can be in the parade. You will have to wear your team leotard and tennis shoes - and you might have to walk and do cartwheels - is that still ok?" said the mom. Little did I know that it would be the hottest, muggiest, most shadeless day of the year. No matter, we promised - and a promise is a promise. We have lived in this area for only three years and had never attended this particular parade before. We knew it would be an adventure for all of us... and it was.
Hair done - check. Shiny leotard on - check. Water bottle ready - check. We proceed to the parade line-up which is actually a gargantuan, snaking line of political candidates wear humongo stickers with their own name printed on them, hoards of dancers, karate kids, gymnasts, and fitness buffs screaming out the specials at their gyms.
Where I come from, parades are teeming with proud veterans, antique cars, boy scouts, fire engines with high school cheerleaders riding on top, horses, marching bands, a smattering of political candidates, men driving tiny Shriner's cars, and large farm equipment. Everyone in town comes and squishes into less than a mile of main street with their bag chairs and blankets to sit on. This was different. Very few people were actually sitting on the curb, and chairs were spread out few and far between. There were large gaps between "floats" - and at times, it seemed as if the parade watchers might just be some random walkers out for their daily stroll. And the parade - when it finally got to us - went on for what seemed to be miles and miles.
At last, our daughter was seen in the distance and we knew she would be passing by soon. Camera - set, family lined up along the curb for high fives - check. Yes I see her! Here she comes! She's doing cartwheels and running! As she approaches, she smiles, waves, and dumps a load of candy on her brother. She jumps into cartwheel mode, and she's gone.
So here's the wrap-up: Traffic, parade line-up mayhem, buckets of sweat, possible heat stroke, and two miles of walking alongside the Gold's Gym float where the participants are screaming, "PUMP IT UP - BURN 500 CALORIES - ONLY PLACE IN MINNESOTA YOU CAN DO THE JAM!!!" -so that we can pick up our overheated little bambino at the end of the parade - all for two seconds of watching a shiny, green jumping bean spring right by us - and then find out later that she doesn't even remember seeing us or unloading candy on her brother.
Good times. Next year's response, "Oh, I forgot to tell you... they cancelled the parade... permanently... sorry."