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Kelly Melang, writer, business owner, avid fitness freak.  If you're not living on the edge then you're taking up too much space!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

WTF - Who Doesn't Love a Small Town Parade

Doesn't everyone love a parade? I've always wished I could be in a parade - not the Homecoming Queen or anything, but march and try out my Prom wave. So when given the chance to march in  the Banner Elk 4th of July parade for Beech Mountain Bike Park, I jumped at the chance.  Picked out my prom dress, pulled out the curlers.

But wait, this parade was not all about me, it was the kids riding their mountain bikes representing the park.  My job is official candy thrower.

Oh well, I'm still in a parade, and will anyone question the prom wave?

The rest of the family was totally excited.

Children: "We're doing what?"  "Is anyone else going?" "Will we look like dorks?"
Hubby: "Where will we park, what about all the people? You're throwing WHAT?"

But off we go to the parade, I'm practicing my prom wave down the mountain.  We follow parade signs, immediately stopped by a security guard.

"You cannot come here, this is for the parade."
"Yes, we have two mountain bikers for Beech Mountain Bike Park."
"Oh, turn here and follow it to the end of march."

End of March?  What is that? I don't want to ask because he looks pretty irritated we are trying to mess up his end of March. We pull down the street, follow the road and find the end of march.

End of March Translation - the end of the parade.

Small town parades are different that Macy's Thanksgiving. The March (I figured this was called the March because we were at the end of March) consisted of little cars with big men in them, two llamas, several tractors, a few old cars, and of course us!

The way the parades work here, you have large bags of candy you throw into the audience as you march, in our case behind the mountain bikers, behind the Beech Mountain Bike Park sign.

The parade starts already there is a casualty, a tractor won't start with a trailer full of sad looking kids eating all the candy they brought to the parade! Several serious looking men bang a wrench around a little bit and with a a huge scream, it starts!  They fall in the line of march behind us, I'm close to tears they made it.

Can I stop here and tell you how much fun it is with a bunch of kids on bikes, telling them to slow down and stay behind the sign?

"Can't I just ride my bike through the sign like a football player?"
"Uh no."
"Just once?"
"Uh no."

"you're getting to close, back up."
"I'm not ahead of the sign."
"Ouch! Don't run over me!"

Am I the only one that gets teary eyed? Was I the only one choking back tears at all the excitement?

Yes? Well never mind.

I get too excited throwing most of my candy at little kids dressed in red, white and blue like a major league baseball player. After a few "OWWWs" I try winding up less and throwing a little softer.

The streets were lined with kids screaming for candy, they were yelling at me! In a parade!

And well, I got all wrapped up in it.

Halfway through the parade my hubby politely informed me, "Honey, you're gonna run out of candy soon if you don't ration."

I look in my bag, Shit! I made the mistake of blowing my candy wad too early in the parade.  It looks like 26.2 miles to the end of the parade! Rationing! Cut my candy throwing way back. I guess I got to excited and emptied my bag way to fast!

So I'm down to acting like I am throwing a piece, then really throwing a piece - A PIECE.

I think I heard one kid remark, "She's probably a dentist."

I moved to hiding in the middle of the pack for part of the parade, hoping people wouldn't see me holding the close to empty candy bag, ration it.

I heard a kid yell, "There she is!  Come on candy lady, throw us some candy!!

I thought about offering the cute little boy in the star striped pants $25 bucks for his big bag of collected candy but figured he'd just ask me for another piece from mine.

I slid over to other candy throwers giving them my sob story, "I blew my candy wad, can you spare of Kit Kat?"

Most look at me going, "Me too! I've only 26 Starburst left, they are going to eat us alive at the end of the parade if we don't have candy!"

Finally I breathed a sigh of relief, the end of the parade was in sight!  I had four pieces of candy left!  I just may make it!  I throw two, pretend throw another four finally giving my last piece to a very cute looking little girl in a red white and blue dress.

Crap!  I forgot to prom wave!

Turning back as they escort us out of the Line of March, I prom wave back to the cheering crowd, savoring their noise, picturing myself coming home from Shuttle Launch 36 to a ticker tape parade.

Who is she? I heard someone ask.

"I don't know, maybe the town dentist, she doesn't know how to throw candy."

So lessons learned:

Your End of March is the end of the parade, literally.
If you want candy, park yourself at the beginning of the parade for all the saps blowing out their candy wad in the first five minutes.
Best parking spot is away from the parade in the direction you want to go, believe me the walk back is worth not waiting in traffic.
Don't be surprised if the parade you attend in a small town includes tractors, riding lawn mowers and possibly a very cleverly dress pig or two.


Oh, and the prom wave goes like this:
Right arm out straight.
Bring right hand up so elbow is at an 90 degree angle.
Cup fingers and bring hand to a 45 degree angle
Gently move back and forth not breaking the degree on the elbow or the straightness of your bicep and tricep.

And smile!

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