FROM THE Parades, past and present I’ve had the privilege to participate in two parades this summer with my daughter’s 4-H Club, the Martell Rushers. Considering I need to get more exercise, I …
Parades, past and present
I’ve had the privilege to participate in two parades this summer with my daughter’s 4-H Club, the Martell Rushers. Considering I need to get more exercise, I like marching in a parade. It kills two birds with one stone, plus it’s like one big reunion. I run into so many people at each parade that I haven’t seen in ages. It’s also fun to see Carolina have fun with her 4-H friends.
If I failed to say hello to anyone at the El Paso Days or Spring Valley Dam Days parades, please don’t hold it against me. At El Paso, I was frantically trying to keep up with our truck which surged ahead in spurts. We were also trying to keep up with the demand for candy, beaded necklaces, and maple syrup from Stockwell’s Sugar Bush (which we passed out on their behalf). We learned a lesson from El Paso Days: Bring more candy. A lot more candy. By the time we reached the end of the parade route, we had sadly run out of sweets, much to the crowd’s dismay. Those parade attendees take their parade swag very seriously.
We didn’t run out of candy at Dam Days, but I can say I definitely saw no one along the parade route because the sun blinded me. I was glad that along with the extra candy, we brought plenty of water because it was a hot one.
I admire the royalty who stand on their floats (some even dance!) in beaded, bedazzled, sequined gowns, waving and smiling and looking fresh as daisies. By the time I’m done with a parade my face is Cardinal red, my makeup is sweated off, my hair is stringy and bedraggled and I definitely am not fresh as a daisy. I’m more like a wilted dandelion. If I was on a float wearing a heavy evening gown and gloves, I’d faint and roll off like a bowling ball.
My first bout with heat intolerance occurred in the Meyer Middle School marching band when I was in seventh grade. I was so excited to play first trombone in my black and yellow band uniform, although we probably looked like a swarm of bees.
I don’t remember which parade we marched in, but it was likely River Falls Days. It was hotter than Hades, and anyone who’s worn a band uniform knows they’re not light and airy. I listened to my band instructor and dutifully drank water that day. As we marched through town, I started to feel weird. My vision got blurry and I felt like I was watching things from afar. I finished the parade and as my fellow musicians and I gathered in the lot of the Keg N’ Kettle, the world went black. I remember walking toward the group, feeling my knees give out, then nothing. I woke up surrounded by black and yellow arms reaching down for me. A loud voice ordered everyone away from me and brought me some cold water. I had fainted and gone down like a ton of bricks on the roasting asphalt. That was just about the end of the world for a seventh grader. How embarrassing! Thank God that was before cell phones capturing videos of our best and worst moments. At least I didn’t faint in front of the whole town, my best friend said in consolation. My head throbbed and I sported a robin’s egg from where I hit the pavement.
While I didn’t pass out in the Dam Days or El Paso parades, I’m always mindful to drink even more water than I think I need so that spectacle doesn’t happen again. More than pride would probably be hurt this time, three decades later.
Another memorable parade experience was the New Richmond Hometown Holidays parade. When I worked at the New Richmond News, my fellow employees and I built a float to look like a mailbox strung with lights, stuffed with letters to Santa. Held just after Thanksgiving, the temperature that night was frigid. My kids dressed as elves and helped pass out candy. However, the crowds were so thick along the parade route, that the kids got mobbed, swallowed up by greedy hands reaching into their candy buckets to get their share. It was honestly a bit off-putting. They were pretty young then; instead of throwing candy, Lincoln was trying to hand it to people, which was sweet, but almost his demise. I just remember seeing him disappear into the mob, only to reemerge about a block later with an empty bucket and a frown on his little face.
Lessons to heed: Drink a lot of water and never, ever run out of candy.
BY SARAH NIGBOR