There’s something about small towns on Independence Day.
They go all out. The populations double. The streets are packed solid. The city parks overflow.
We went to Crawford for their parade. They are THE place to be on the fourth. Arriving early enough to only need to park a few blocks away from the parade rout we hiked to the proper road and found a place with some shade. Of course we knew someone across the street from where we sat. They walked over to say hi, then to visit with the people next to us who they also knew. We knew many of the people in the parade even though it was a good hour from us. Everyone knows everyone.
As a local girl sang the anthem not one person remained seated or left a hat on. The American Legion marched proudly passed carrying the colors. I knew the one carrying the American flag and fondly remembered his telling of crashing a plane somewhere overseas and meeting with the boy from a farm across the highway from him in the rescue crew. Or was he the rescue crew. I wished I could sit and talk to him and hear the story again of the joy and surprise of meeting a neighbor from back home while halfway around the world.
We tried to find a happy medium between encouraging the kids to grab the copious amounts of candy thrown out and making sure they didn’t dive under horse hooves or tractor tires. An older gentleman, a complete stranger, that we were sitting next to took to helping them gather as much candy as they could. Going out into the road after candy he thought they shouldn’t be taking the chance at getting themselves.
The parade over flowed with horses. Their shoes ringing loudly on the asphalt. The huge teams prancing or plodding as they pulled wagons slowly along. One team of oxen even, the announcer telling how they were used to feed the more lowly cattle all winter.
There were tractors, with darling farm kids driving them. Is there anything cuter than a farm kid proud to drive his tractor in the big parade? Old cars, semis, and the whole fire department worth of fire trucks. It took me a minute to recognize my farrier in one of them. Volunteers everyone of the but they are happy to give up watching the parade to drive in it. The children fully appreciated that and were surprised to hear their names called from inside one of them. A friend from school! They all waved enthusiastically.
The motorcycles made the ground shake as they rumbled by. I happened to glance down the street as they passed. The view was spectacular. The tree lined street was packed with people. The flags waved, a solid line down the center of the street.
Somewhere people are burning the flag, complaining about this country. Here we still acknowledge it as the place people are flocking to for a freedom, equality, and a chance to strive for the good life. Here we know how good we have it. What could be better than a small town parade?