What Is A Parade, How Much Work About the House is Too Much, and Why Don’t I Care Much For Electioneering This Go Around?

08 Jul

I know this is a wacky title, but I wish to condense many thoughts into one, rambling and incoherent post that may turn out to be a masterpiece.

Yeah. Probably not, but it’s what’s on my fertile mind at the moment. So bail out now if you don’t wish to participate.

When I was growing up in southern California we always went to the Rose Parade. It was a magnificent thing, with terrific engineering, beautiful flowers and other flora, and starlets, and Lassie. From my first cognizant years this was the only parade I’d ever experienced and it was magical. As I grew up, I actually made money selling stadium seats as my school was at the corner of Orange Grove Blvd. and Colorado Blvd., where the parade turns. My friend’s house was on the opposite of the same corner and we made a fortune selling parking and were conscripted into sales at a very young age. We made a killing.

But never mind the profit and swaggering 13 year olds with a fistful of dough……

In my middle school years we moved away and I didn’t see another “parade” for…decades. Fast forward to my first parade encounter in those decades. I won’t disclose the location, but it was a small town affair. Horses. Pretty little misses sporting ‘Miss Somewhere’ sashes and tiaras. Shriners in mini cars buzzing around.

Let’s just say that after the majesty of the Rose Parade I wasn’t impressed.

But on the Fourth of July I agreed to help out with….OK….be in…the Beaverdam, VA Fourth of July Parade.

If I thought watching a hometown parade is disappointing, participating in this parade was downright painful and had the potential to be lethal. Here’s why….

The Beaverdam Fourth of July Parade has a route of over 5 miles, some of which is to be ridden by slowly when there is a crowd, and some of which encompasses corn fields and is to be ridden by at speeds in excess of 30 MPH. If you’re a rookie and don’t have local knowledge this can be problematic. Especially if you’ve jumped off of your ride, which in my case was a 55 Ford pickup…sweet ride….but riding on the running boards, passing out campaign bumperstickers………well……..I nearly got dumped off at the first cornfield straightaway and barely saved myself from a massive head injury. But my cat like reflexes saved me that time.

I regathered myself from that near disaster, then we hit another crowd cluster, the truck slowed down, and I jumped off to pass out more bumperstickers. Next thing I knew the truck was at least a hundred yards ahead of me and gaining steam. So I sprinted.

I don’t really sprint at 58+ years old, not being a member of a gym and being a long standing member of the Friends of Marlboro and Bourbon Society. But I caught up to the beast with an athletic display that was Olympian in its beauty. Then we blasted through the next half mile which was all cornfield.

We slowed up again at the elementary school and, having regained my pitiful metabolism and a semi-normal pulse rate, I once again hopped off the 55 Ford and handed out more bumperstickers…..only to be left permanently in the dust by our driver.

This was not the Rose Parade. Parades have beautiful 80 foot floats going along at 3 MPH.

This wasn’t a parade as much as a NASCAR time trial.

I eventually hitched a ride to finish the parade from a County Supervisor, Bucky Stanley.

But you know how stupid I am? Two days later…..

I rented a log splitter on July 6th in 94 degree temps because there was wood to be split.

I won’t even tell you about how much wood I split. I had several massive trees dropped and stacked that needed to be cut into fireplace length with a chainsaw. Then split. I still think I’m in my twenties, I guess. This is after the bathroom remodel which I mostly did myself, the spreading of river rock on the driveway………..I don’t know why I’m complaining. It’s a problem of my own making.

So when these twenty something hired political operatives call me to ask if I want to meet RNC Chair Reince Priebus and to door knock this weekend I’m thinking that maybe I should tell them that I just can’t because I’m waiting for an overnight delivery of a much needed cleaning cartridge for my 8 Track tape player.

Whew. Electioneering is for the young, my friends, but I’ve rested up and……….I’ll be there fighting to save the country once again, I guess.
What choice do I have? I don’t like it, but it’s necessary.

OK, this post didn’t turn out to be a masterpiece, but dissembled into just a story of ill consequence. I warned you that it might be a waste of time.


Posted by on July 8, 2013 in politics


4 responses to “What Is A Parade, How Much Work About the House is Too Much, and Why Don’t I Care Much For Electioneering This Go Around?

  1. P. Henry Saddleburr

    July 8, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    That was a fat finger publish. I hadn’t even proof read it once. Yikes.

  2. Pedro

    July 9, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Good on you P. Henry. Too bad parades seem to have devolved into pure political theater. The Woodstock, GA parade was rained out this year but in recent years, local marching bands, the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, dance teams, pageant winners, and, yes the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars have all gradually been trumped by political aficionados in fancy or antique cars glad-handing and tossing drink holders and candy to the crowd with promises of…well, I don’t know exactly what. Liberty? Equality? Prosperity? Sanity in government? All or none of the above?

    I would prefer the return to floats and kids on bicycles decorated with crepe paper, and all of the aforementioned groups. I might even be impressed if there was an actual group representing the Gay Scouts of America. That would seem open and voluntary to me and not a forced inclusion.

    Unfortunately, there seems to be very little focus on the event or historical significance of the day at hand. Local parades are just a chance for aspiring politicians to hawk their names to a bunch of folks looking for free stuff. I’d rather split wood.

  3. Deborah Sampson

    July 13, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Masterpiece? Sure,why not? It was hysterical. I’m envious of the early proximity to the Rose Parade. That does set the bar pretty high.

    • P. Henry Saddleburr

      July 14, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      Unrealistically high expectations on my part do not make this parade a crime, per se., Or even a failure.

      80 foot floats festooned with fresh flowers at the Rose Parade is an unrealistically high bar, but when you’re a kid and that’s the only parade you’d ever seen and then you go to small town parades it’s kind of…..WTF?

      But then there is the sad story of Steven and David Register, school mates of mine, who found sandwiches under the grandstands at the Rose Parade….and ate them. And they both died from food poisoning.

      Fantastic parades can have deadly consequences. But it gave me a healthy wariness about mayonnaise.

      It’s all very complicated and I apologize for rambling.

      Nobody died at the Beaverdam parade, but still, I was both disappointed and terrified when I was standing on the running board of a pickup traveling in excess of 35 MPH. And the driver didn’t seem to comprehend that he was putting us in jeopardy.

      It could have ended in tragedy for any of us.



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