Sunday, October 23, 2011

New Home Homecoming

Yesterday we went downtown to see the high school homecoming parade. We live in a small mountain town, and our downtown strip is about twenty stores long. It’s actually what we love about this place, the quaintness you seek out on a vacation trip, that we have on a daily basis.

We were alone. Both boys found other activities that interested them more. Even our high schooler decided he didn’t want to be bored to death by a small town parade. He’s still figuring out his place here, so we gave him the room to refuse this obviously high school event. He’s a pretty friendly kid and I predict he will be in the parade next year. But for this year, it was just me and Jeff.

We gave up our folding chairs to a mother and daughter who had come unprepared, and we headed up to the top deck of Little Bear, the old wooden tavern in the middle of town. With no little children in our care there was no need for being close to the potential candy throwing action.

Soon the police cars stopped all traffic and the parade began. The town fire truck came inching down the street, sirens blaring. Little children below us lined up with their newly unpacked Halloween bags, and anxiously waited for the first signs of brightly colored wrappers flying through the air.

They didn’t have to wait long. The parade basically consisted of the school’s marching band, and then a long line of decorated pick up trucks, full of high school kids throwing candy. Every club and team was represented, and each of them came fully loaded with candy. For a half an hour we watched excited little people frantically scurrying around under our second story perch, scooping up handfuls of treats. The funny thing was, the big kids in the parade seemed to be having just as much fun as the little kids on the street. Every handful that flew through the air brought a new round of squeals and delight.

A few times Jeff convinced some of the young men in the truck beds to huck a few treats up our way. He didn’t want the candy. He just wanted to give them a challenge, and most of them accepted it. More than once our group, that lined the top deck rail, got pelted with sugary bullets.

Then it was over. Little kids scooped up the last of their prizes and turned to compare their loot with their siblings and friends. Moms and dads said goodbye to friends they’d found in the crowds and headed back to their cars, arms heavy with lawn chairs.

We’re new in town, so we quietly watched the magic of our small town - friends and neighbors gathering on a sunny day to watch their own, and their friends’ high school kids ride a half a mile down main street, throwing candy to younger siblings and friends.

Everyone went home happy. And Jeff and I wandered off to explore the shops in our new home town.

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