7.04.2009

Red, White and True

As promised here is the Mom post, hope you enjoy it. Happy Independence Day!

I don’t remember the first time that I participated in my Mom’s Fourth of July Parade. There is a picture though… I'm young, perhaps two or three years old, and I'm perched on top of a pony with my mother by my side. A small crowd is gathered around us and we all smile and wave for the camera, taken on a rural road outside my grandparent’s home.

The summer when I was six, our family moved to our new home in Studio City, California. By the Fourth of July my sister and I had only had time to make one new friend, Darren, a boy who lived four houses down from us. We had already bored of the summertime activities.

We begged my mom to think of something to entertain us. She suggested we have a Fourth of July Parade, like she the one she started back home. Often she told us the story of how she started the parade, how each year the number of participants grew, and how fun it could be if we started the tradition in our new neighborhood.

naturally we fought the idea initially as there were only three of us (Mom suggested we take the dog too). Eventually we dressed up in red, white and blue outfits, we found flags, we decorated our dog in crepe paper streamers, and we carried pots and wooden spoons to create marching music.

Mom cheered from the front lawn as we marched down the sidewalk from the front of our home down to Darren’s. We waved our flags proudly and tried to bang out “The Star-Spangled Banner” on pots, although it frightened the heck out of the dog (and any other hearing being).

It was not long before we began to gain the attention of the other neighbors (I don’t wonder why) who stoically watched our determined route back and forth. Passing cars honked appreciatively. We grew tired of parading pretty quickly and we were sure the new neighbors thought we were nuts.

The following year in June my mother again suggested the parade. I complained bitterly that I didn’t want to do it because we looked foolish (a parade of three), I didn’t like the cars honking at us, and the pot banging simply had to go. I felt certain, at age seven, this reasoning would get me out of it. Instead she conceded to gathering additional resources to join us, changing the parade route to the quieter side street, and following in a car with the radio blaring marching music.

The parade was on. I was doubtful, but true to her word she invited all the families we knew and lured them with the promise of free lemonade and spaghetti dinner at the end of the parade.

We started about six blocks from our house with about ten to fifteen people. We picked up anyone willing to join us along the way and ended with about twenty people at my house, with the free lemonade and spaghetti promised for participation.

Each year the participants swelled. Mom’s parade discouraged no one from participation. This is no formal affair as you can see… if you want to lead the parade, you just move to the front… if you want to be in the drum line, you bring your pot and spoon…. if you want to ride in a float, you make your own.

As we grew older, my sister and I began to spend the summer away with my dad. My mother continued the tradition without us for a time, but eventually it became too much for her to manage. She decided she could not host the parade. Luckily the new guard of neighborhood mothers took up the cause and the tradition continued (without the free spaghetti).

About five years ago my mom decided to sell her home, and follow her heart to the Napa Valley. Before she moved, we decided to go back and see the parade one last time. We watched with amazement at all the people gathered. Someone in the crowd recognized my mother and pulled her into the gorgeous red convertible that was leading the parade. Her face was flushed with joy as she looked at the “little” parade she started so long ago.

Does the parade still continue? I really hope so, because when I think of the “Spirit of America”, I think of that parade… of kids on their bikes and pulled in red wagons waving the flag, of dogs decorated in crepe paper steamers, but most of all… I think of my Mom, who always encouraged us to take the single step from the curb into the street and not just watch the parade go by, but to risk looking like a fool and make one of our own.

I'm happy to announce the Parade continues.

27 comments:

  1. What a beautiful story. Your mother was a wise woman. And fun.

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  2. The parade sounds like so much fun and your mom is very special!

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  3. What a wonderful memory!!

    Happy 4th of July!

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  4. A Marvelous Story--I am also glad the parade continues for your mom and YOU!

    Noir

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  5. I love you my baby sister, and I'll march with you any time. I'm so proud of you! Happy 4th.

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  6. What a lovely story, thsnk you for sharing it. And how lovely of your Mom to have started a wonderful traditional parade ~ I'm betting even more people attend it now.

    Have a wonderful 4th July.

    Milo and Alfie's Mom.

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  7. Thank you for sharing your mom's story Fin. That is interesting... and your grand mommie moved to Napa Valley? That is where we live!

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  8. Thanks for sharing the story Meg. It reminds me of my childhood all over again.

    Tracey

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  9. What a wonderful story. Thankyou for sharing it. Your mum sounds like a great lady:)

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  10. Happy 4th of july!
    It's a beautiful story, very nice =)

    Jas & Gi

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  11. Such wonderful and nostalgic memories of Independence Days gone by!

    Happy Fourth of July from your Canadian friends, Wendy, Dante, Dylan and Domino!

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  12. A story of beauty and wonder and what one can do if only they take that first small step and try.
    Freedom...

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  13. That's a lovely story, Meg. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Happy 4th of July to you and Fin.

    Purrs and hugs,
    The Kitty Krew's Mommy and the Krew

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  14. Beautiful story! Happy 4th to all !

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  15. Mom Comment: Thanks everyone for coming by and your kind words. Have a great 4th!!

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  16. That's a great post! It gave our Mom goosebumps. We hope you all have a happy and safe 4th of July

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  17. Oh my gosh, I loved that story! Your mom's mother sounds like a really wonderful person. I hope the parade is still going, too.

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  18. Oh wow! That was a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Happy 4th of July to you!

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  19. Fin's Mom,
    Thank you for sharing this very moving story:) Your Mother is a true patriot.

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  20. What a lovely memory. We hopes the parade will continue for a very long time.

    Prehaps if Mommy takes Fenris for a walk this evening (it's raining here now) we shall parade. I am sure we could talk the boy beans into it if Mommy helps us.

    We hope you have a happy 4th! We are getting lots of good food to eat. ~S,S,C & F

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  21. That is such a sweet story and a wonderful childhood memory. I'm so happy the tradition continues. Your mom sounds like a wonderful person.

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  22. Interesting about your mom! We live in Napa too, we were living upvally in Angwin for a long time. We have lived here ever since we moved in with my own mom, when my father passed away 8 years ago. Mom is 91 years old.

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