Small Town Parades · 5 September 2009

I love parades. But small town parades are the best. Even when there are not as many marching bands as I like, there are other tangible benefits to going to a small town parade – like knowing half the people in the parade and being able to get up and take pictures of them.

The Fair Days Parade in Monroe is a fun parade. There were only three or four marching bands, but I still got excited when they marched by and played their cadence between songs. I love to hear the percussion pound out the beat to which everybody marches. Their sound is the one of the best parts of the parade for me.

Even with just a few marching bands, I enjoy going to our small parade. I may not know everybody lining the streets but it seems like it at times. And this year, I knew more people in the parade, than I knew around me. One of the great highlights was having City Councilman Kurt Goering wave and call out a greeting to our family from his perch on the back of a convertible. It was amazing to have a dignitary and his family smiling and waving to us instead of just at the crowd.

While we really did not quite know half the people in the parade, we did have a son and a couple neighbors in the parade. Our oldest son was handing out candy with a neighbor and the rest of their football teammates. He came right over so we could take his picture while he was giving candy to his brothers and those sitting around us. It was nice that our teenage son acknowledged us in public as well as giving his brothers candy and a little football.

Probably the most fun part of going to a small town parade is getting close to the action. One of the neighbor girls was playing flute in the band and was on our side of the street. My wife said that I should go out and take a picture of her. I was thinking of all the other parades I had attended over the years where officials kept people away from the action when I said that I would not go. “You go take her picture.” My wife took the camera and leapt up without any hesitation. She trotted right into the parade and took some pictures of our neighbor. She probably would have knocked over any official who tried to keep her off the parade route.

I, on the other hand, knew that if I had been the one to go out with the camera, I would have been scooped up by the local law enforcement and taken away in the paddy wagon. (There was even one later on in the parade.) I did not realize, until thinking about it later, that we were just watching a short parade through our little town. The rules were different than I remembered at other parades. Even though the town is not small enough to know everybody, it is still small enough that people can run out onto the street and take a couple pictures of friends, neighbors, and family members in the parade.

While I never really get enough of cadences and marching bands, I still love a parade. And I have come to love our small town parade with its greetings from our dignitary friends, participation of our family and friends, and close-up camera action without a long lens. Like the song says, “I love a parade.” Especially, in our small town.<\p>

© 2009 Michael T. Miyoshi

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