Do you love parades? If there’s a procession in your area, do you grab your lawn chair, snacks, a cold drink or two and settle in for the show?
I recall the song "I Love a Parade," written many years ago by songwriting duo Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler.
I love a parade,the tramping of feet,
I love every beat I hear of a drum.
I love a parade, when I hear a band
I just want to stand and cheer as they come.
That rat-a tat-tat, the blare of a horn.
That rat-a tat-tat, a bright uniform;
The sight of a drill will give me a thrill,
I thrill at the skill of everything military.
I love a parade, a handful of vets,
A line of cadets or any brigade,
For I love a parade.
Here’s the confession: The Outdoors Guy and I DON’T love a parade!!! Each fall when the Oktoberfest Maple Leaf Parade is held in La Crosse, count us O.U.T.!!! At 3.5-4 hours, The Maple Leaf Parade is excessively long and overly crowded for our taste.
So, imagine our surprise when Grampa said he wanted to go to the Barnes, WI, July 4th Parade not far from where we were visiting our son, Jon and daughter-in-law, Sara’s cabin.
“Who is this guy?!!!” I asked.
No one had an answer because our kids know full well parades aren’t on Grampa’s radar. Well… mine either.
Still, we all piled into the vehicle, including 11-year-old Jackson and 9-year-old Bryson, and headed to the main drag in tiny Barnes, WI, (population 774) in Bayfield County, parked, walked a ways, and waited along the parade route with hundreds (not thousands) of parade-goers.
Then, it clouded over and a few sprinkles were in the air. I looked around and noticed a small library that used to be someone’s home. It had a small covered front porch, so I ducked under it for cover. It wasn’t long before the sprinkles turned into a steady rain and the others flocked toward the library and joined me under my refuge.
We patiently waited out the shower with no grumbling from Grampa!!! Then, the clouds parted, the sun came out and everyone came out from undercover.
A fly-over with two F-16 Fighter jets got things started. The parade mainly consisted of antique vehicles in pristine condition, farm machinery in tip-top shape, fire trucks from surrounding municipalities, and a couple of trucks turned kinda/sorta like floats from restaurants/bars with patrons aboard and music blaring.
Low and behold, also in the parade was the Barnes First Responders Ambulance with the same two staff members who took The Outdoors Guy and I to Hayward Area Memorial Hospital when he suffered a stroke at the kids’ cabin on Labor Day Weekend 2017.
Along the route, there were what are designated “dry zones” and “wet zones.” When the fire trucks came through, if you were in the dry zone you wouldn’t get sprayed but… you guessed it… in the wet zone, everyone got drenched!!!
There were no marching bands or fancy floats. Also missing from the lineup… politicians!!! Yay!!!
Finally, two choppers flew overhead, not far above the tall pines behind us. The Barnes parade was in the books.
This was Grampa’s and my kind of parade… about 30 minutes from start to finish. Jon, Sara, Jackson and Bryson enjoyed it as well.
Even so, don’t think Mr. Outdoors and I are suddenly new-found parade lovers. Nope! Not happenin’!!! We’ll reserve that special memory for the Barnes July 4, 2019 Parade.
It will probably be Grampa's only parade memory because it’s anyone’s guess if he will ever love a parade again!!!