Monday, October 4, 2010

In the Parade

I don't think I've been in a parade since high school, and we're talking marching band here, as in parades as a high-impact sport. Fun then, not so much now.

This time was easier on the knees. I got to ride in a SUV (the convertible had attendance issues) and smile, wave, and throw Tootsie Rolls. It was unexpectedly fun.

I wasn't thinking of it originally as much more than a duty, part of the campaign. Three of us got together and put our signs on one vehicle. I rode, one walked and handed out leaflets, and the third was too sick to show up. Bummer. Other candidates rode golf carts and ATVs, had floats with huge signs, lots of supporters, and the occasional bunch of balloons. The races included city, county and state, and the bigger the constituency, the bigger the parade presence.

Since it was Shafer Days, there were the usual supply of fire engines, squad cars, and tractors in the mix. The horses were near the end, and I neither know nor care who had the scooper. But the streets were cleared of candy before they rode. I'm sure of it.

Well, pretty sure.


I did see people I knew, some neighbors, some others city folks - officials, staff - and one who's a customer of the auctions, sitting along the route with her own booth of goodies to sell. I tossed her Tootsie Rolls too. There were two very large bags of them to toss from inside the SUV, and amazingly it worked out so that there was only about two inches of candy remaining in the bottom when the parade ended.

I discovered there's an art to tossing candy. We learned a lot (I'm counting the driver too) from the dweebs in front of us. They started tossing candy straws, hard candies, and a whole lot of what looked like business cards from their ATV, mostly dropped right under their own wheels, so the runners-after-candy had to run way out into the street, or leave them to blow around or get run over. Possibly both. They tossed lots at first and then seemed to run out before the parade ended. We tossed ours as far towards the curb as possible, sometimes hitting the kids. (Softly. Honest!) I discovered early on that when your hand full of candy hits the frame of the window, the candies drop all over the floor inside instead of sailing out towards your intended benefactors. Oops.

The benefactors ran the gammut between interested and not, willing to chase into the street and restrained by parents, thankful and threatening. I'd like to think it was actually mock-threatening, but during a throwing lull when I was busy tearing open the second bag, we clearly heard one man shout, "Throw the candy or we'll egg the car!" I did. He didn't. I have no proof whatsoever of any cause-and-effect relationship.

One mom was busy maneuvering a stroller, and I called out to her that I wouldn't throw the candy if she wanted to come up to the car. I held out a handful, and she did. I did debate trying to throw some through the window of a food stand we passed close to, but thought better of it. They didn't look like they were into the parade.

But I clearly was.

As promised, I brought a few Tootsie Rolls home for Daddy. Cool weather, crowds, eyesight, and the fact that Paul was working and couldn't accompany him over to the parade route, all kept him home. The candy was a consolation prize. As I handed him his pieces, I realized I hadn't actually had one myself. Not one.


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