In my hometown, there is one day every year when the whole town wanders out, we line the main road starting at seven that morning, we complain about how miserably hot it is, although most of us would hate missing out on this ritual, and we haul home as much candy as possible.
The 4th of July
Growing up in a small town, we didn’t exactly have a lot of entertainment.
Our entertainment was obtained by sneaking a couple people into the drive-in theatre in our trunks, (Of course, I never did that and don’t believe what anyone else tells you), riding four-wheelers to the bluffs and returning covered in mud, driving back and forth down the main drag of town at least ten times a night, jumping into muddy rivers from a zipline and the 4th of July parade.
On the 4th of July, anything was possible.
The air was just different that day.
There was something that happened to our town that none of us could quite put our finger on.
We just knew it meant that the possibilities were endless on that one day a year.
We obsessed over what outfit we would wear to the parade. Of course, in our younger days some of us wore shorts too short, shirts too tight and refused to pull our hair up even though it was miserably hot – it would throw off our whole look.
Of course, I was always dressed conservatively.
The day started once you hit the the center of town. We would walk up and down the main road seeing who all was out, what they were wearing, what guy gave you a wink, and making plans for the rest of the day – should we go to the festivities at the courthouse or should we bail and head to the river?
One blistering hot 4th of July day in my former life, I awoke with that same air of excitement that visited once a year.
It was the 4th – who knew what could happen today.
I hurriedly dressed, skipping breakfast, and drove down to the middle of town in search of my friends.
It was miserably hot, but halfway through the parade, I was raking in that Laffy Taffy and Super Bubble Gum.
The parade was nearing the end – although Herman had not yet went through. Let me pause for a moment to tell you about Herman.
Herman was a wonderful, kind, sweet old man who had been a fixture in our small town for as long as I could remember, and for as long as my dad can remember. Really, as long as anyone can remember. He walked around town with May, a dear, sweet old lady who looked out for Herman. They both swept the parking lots of the Family Dollar and Super-D stores for a little bit of money each day.
Every 4th of July parade, it was customary for Herman to ride through the parade on his beloved roller skates with a big grin on his face, missing a few teeth, while waving to all of us. Bless his heart, I think it was his favorite day of the year. The parade simply wasn’t complete if you didn’t see Herman go through. If you left before you saw Herman, well, then you should of just stayed home to begin with.
Herman rides his roller skates in the 4th of July Parade in the sky these days. We all know he’s much happier to be back with May.
Anyway, I don’t think Herman had made his appearance yet, and I started feeling a little funny. A little drunk like, but I hadn’t been drinking.
Really, I hadn’t at all.
And the next thing I knew, I woke up in my friend’s arms on the side of the street and was quickly drug to a nearby chair.
I passed out during the 4th of July parade.
I missed seeing Herman go through.
Passing out? No big deal. I just should have eaten and drank water before the parade.
Missing Herman? I hated that, but there was next year.
The problem was that someone called an ambulance who bombarded their way through the parade on my behalf.
As soon as I saw the ambulance, I quickly shooed them away and looked for the nearest hole to crawl in and die.
The ambulance left and the parade resumed.
I overheard one of my friends say this was sure to make the weekly tribune.
Thank God it didn’t.
I had to ward off ten different people asking if I was knocked-up.
I wasn’t. Thank God for that even more.
And on top of it all, someone made off with my bag of Laffy Taffy and Super Bubble Gum.
Darn thieves. As if shutting down the parade with an ambulance wasn’t bad enough, I lost my candy too.
Folks, we’ll be enjoying the parade tomorrow with the kid.
That is, if we can get into town. My friend Lindsay swears an alarm goes off every time I cross the county line.
If we make it through unnoticed, the kid better back off my Laffy Taffy and Super Bubble.
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