Monday, August 2, 2010

I Love a Parade

I love parades. I always have. From the screaming fire engines to the bands of every kind to the kids marching in scout uniforms or gymnastics leotards or dance school tutus or hockey pads to the antique cars to the vendors hawking cheap toys that break on the way home. I love the “anti-parade” of people on bikes, parents pushing strollers, and kids on roller skates, skateboards and scooters going the wrong way up the street before the parade starts. I love the smell of cotton candy and cap guns and silly string. I love the little ones in strollers and backpacks and wagons, all wide-eyed with anticipation. I love the packs of tweens and teens hanging out without their parents, trying to look cool. I love the older couples holding hands and carrying their folding chairs. I love the excited dogs sitting on laps or carrying their toys or pulling at their leashes. I love it all!

And I’m very happy to see that Ryan got the “parade gene”. Yesterday after church we went to the closing parade of Yankee Homecoming week in Newburyport. Ryan was napping in the car on the way up, and was barely awake as we packed him into the stroller and walked the few blocks from the car to the parade route. Herb hung back, trying to avoid the ear-splitting screams of the fire engines, but Ryan and I plowed ahead, Ryan starting to wake up but completely unbothered by the noise. He watched curiously as the red lights flashed on the shiny engines and ladders. He gazed intently at the antique cars with their loud “aah-OOO-gah!!” horns. He studied the brightly-colored balloons and horns and toys on all the vendors’ carts. But what really drew his attention was the bands. Or more specifically, the DRUMS. It was all we could do to stop him from marching right out and joining the band!

I particularly love the Yankee Homecoming parade because of the variety of bands. There is always at least one Scottish bagpipe band and one Irish one, a middle school marching band and a local town marching band, a jazz/blues band riding on a float, a couple of African/Caribbean groups, several fife and drum corps, and various other musical ensembles. And every one that passed by had Ryan enthralled by their drummers. The Scottish pipe bands had drummers who twirled their drumsticks, the African band had drummers who danced while they played, and the drum corps had young kids playing drums. Each group had its own special attraction in the percussion section.

He happily bounced in my arms in tune to the music, or marched in place as each group passed, or even sang along every now and then. But his eyes hardly left the musicians. He’d never seen – or heard – anything like it!

Watching his enjoyment of the scene made it even more fun for me, if that’s even possible. What could be a better way to spend a lovely summer afternoon than being with your two favorite guys, watching a parade and watching your guys watch a parade? I can’t imagine anything better. Because after all, I DO love a parade!

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