Hooray for the parade! Who doesn’t love a parade! Everyone loves a parade! The parade is coming, the parade is coming! Hooray for the parade!
The finest parades, the most fun parades, the best parades are usually led by some unsuspecting tramp who just stumbled into town, riding on a freight train in his shabby clothes and comically tattered hat, and ambles from side to side of the street shaking hands, thinking the big doings are on his account while the drum major in his flashy brocades and tassles tries to shoo him away with his tall, grand, golden orbed baton. Then the band, the first of many, marching in their matching velvety uniforms, all mostly in step with the music, all mostly on key, the big bass drummers the only ones smiling and independently happy. They all stop, turn as one to face the grandstand to begin thier next piece for the pleasure of the grandmarshal, the big bass drummers the only one not caring whether he approves or not. It’s a beautiful day, a grand sunny wonderful day and they step out strongly with their big bass drums and whollop them heartily in front of the packed stands, god and everybody.
Then come the shiny cars with no roofs to them, pretty girls wearing sashes and tiaras waving, smiling happily to the people lining the sidewalk, spilling into the street. Men in their best suits throw candy that the children scramble after. No one gets hit in the eye. The signs on the cars pump the town, the event, the politicians, the businesses, the clubs, the civic organizations. The pretty girls grow tired of waving, the men keep it up, perfunctorily.
The jugglers are next, seldom bungling but picking things up where they left off and juggling on.
Oh the clowns! The clowns the best of all, mimicing the people in the street, even the pompous grand marshall himself. They chase each other in their big floppy shoes throwing buckets of water at each other and missing and when they throw a bucket at the delighted crowd confetti rains down.
Animals in formation, men wearing clean new ill fitting cowboy hats and ladies in satin shirts and fringed buckskin skirts trot right down the civilized concrete main street on horseback. The horses high step uncomfortably but none break free and trample through the crowd, no one is maimed. Several horses lift thier tails and plop fragrant piles of dung, one does it right in front of the grandstand its rider, a local busness leader who sits the horse awkwardly looks embarrassed. A group of brightly dressed 4H kids come behind the horse people with thier dogs that wear ribbons. One of the dogs, a piebald collie mix, squats and does his business in front of the grandstand too, his owner, a young girl, looks mortified, the grand marshal points and smirks, her mortification complete.
There is a mighty rumble and roar, the air shakes and four jets thunder overhead in formation, low and very loud. The proud army comes marching through, strong, erect, identical right shoulder harms they turn thier heads to the grand marshall who looks bloatedly puffed with sober pride. Rank after rank, file after file passes the grandstand, each branch of the service represented, some with a high straight legged goose step, each uniform identical, each member the same, all strong, confident in step.
The tanks and huge trucks come next, big phallic barrels pointing threateningly up, forward. Row after row, rank after rank guns of all sizes. The grand marshall couldn’t be prouder. They shake the ground, the grandstand, the crowds feel it through thier feet as the mighty army trundles by. It is aweing.
And last, the veterans follow everyone, some in wheelchairs, some in thier quaint, antique uniforms, some old, some maimed, some old but still marching. They turn thier heads to the grandstand but the grand marshall has gone. The crowds are dispersing, dads and moms tugging the arms of thier little children who suck candy and stare at the men with only one arm or a prosthetic leg.
Behind them comes a man with a shovel pushing a cart but there is little left to scrape up.