Charity should begin at home, but should not stay there. ~ Philip Brooks
You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. ~ Anonymous
A good laugh is sunshine in the house. ~ William Makepeace Thackeray
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I Love a Parade
"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 wanna stand,
and cheer as they come!"
(Those words from the Cotton Club Show 'Rhythmania' 1931, lyrics by Ted Koehler.)
What is it about a parade that brings the crowd? Is it the beat of the band? From these lyrics, music is an important part of a parade! It is definitely the music that gets folks clapping, dancing and generally, just singing along.
A parade has lots of attractions. The official start of the parade is identified with the RCMP, generally, leading the way. Watching the decorated officers in their red serge is certainly a proud moment in Canadian tradition.
One by one the next entrants of the parade emerge. Horses of all types and sizes are always dressed up in their finest. Many hours have been spent in cleaning and shining the harness, braiding and placing ribbons and bows in manes and tails to make their impressive animals stand out. Some will be hooked to carriages or wagons, others saddled and ridden by groups identified by their outfits. The horses always leave their mark on the parade route too, and the next group behind them gets to experience that first step!
The processions of participants continues with local dignitaries, church groups, clubs, and organizations, community businesses, and equipment dealerships, all showing off whom they are, and enthusiastically greeting the crowds along the streets.
To me, the music is the important part of the parade. I can easily clap along to the music of the bagpipes, the local musicians, or the school bands. As a kid, I can remember being in the school band, which we turned into a marching band for the summer months. We loaded onto school buses and traveled from community to community to participate in their local parade.
We shared our school pride with our music and the ability to walk in step and play our instruments at the same time. (Quite the feat for some of us!)
Our uniforms were HOT! Hot, as in black pants, black suit jacket, white pinnie identifying our school, and a tall black furry hat with a white feather plume. Maybe now I understand why there aren't many school marching bands left, as it's probably against the law to dress kids up like that and send them out marching on a hot summer day! (Sorry I digress, probably still feeling the effects of heat stroke!)
And a parade wouldn't be a parade without the antics of the local Shiners club. Who doesn't enjoy seeing these fellows driving their small cars, airplanes, buses, etc., along the parade route. They are always doing fun maneuvers in the middle of the street which brings on loud cheers from the crowd.
This year, I was in my home town of Boissevain, MB for the Canada Day parade. Down the street came the RCMP, MLA, Mayor, church groups, local Coop float, antique tractors and cars, local DJ's float, Legion members float, great big John Deer tractor, the fire truck and of course the Shriner club from Brandon.
When I saw the Shriner's, I immediately said to those I was watching with, that the Shriners had sponsored the Humbolt Bronco community member from Airdrie to go to a Shriner hospital in Philadelphia for further treatment. It's during times like these, that one realizes the important work these groups do throughout the year, and just not having fun in their small cars at a parade!
Once the parade ended, the town then shifts to the Ag Society fairgrounds for supper in the curling rink sponsored by the Bible camp group, entertainment in the park, and then fireworks at dark. At the supper, standing in line, I saw all those Shriners, and I couldn't help myself but leave my spot in line, and head to the group and say, "Thank you". I explained that I was from Airdrie, AB, and we had a community member that was in the Humbolt bus crash and the Shriner's Club had been kind enough to sponsor Ryan to have specialized treatment in one of their hospitals. They appreciated the thanks and mentioned that they were also treating some of the children burned from the Guatemala volcano.
I love a parade. I truly love what a community can do to help out a community. A parade brings out excitement and joyfulness, a sense of hope, and a feeling of happiness and comradery not experienced very often.
Next time you are watching a parade, I challenge you to think of how each of the entrants has made your community a better place.