Saturday was The Hesperia Days' Parade.
Now, lest you envision something of Rose Parade quality, let me clarify: this parade is an annual offering by and for the community that includes a great deal of unlikely entrants. For instance, trash trucks. Yes, trash trucks. An entire fleet of them. They have loud patriotic music blaring, American flags on the mechanical truck arms, and scads of workers riding all over the trucks. It may sound a little fantastical but it's great fun and we all love it.
For the last half-dozen years our family has been helping with the parade at the Registration table; our grandparents are in the Kiwanis Club, which sponsors the whole hoopla, and we are their grandkids (!!!) so we are somehow allowed to wear "Parade Official" badges and pretend that we're very authoritative. I love it. It's always such an adventure; one year we had a saloon enter the parade and they arrived at nine am., tipsy. (Acts 2:15, anyone?) We tried to get them into the correct parade lineup which turned out to be quite a fiasco because their judgment had apparently been sufficiently impaired to make them uncooperative. We ended up rearranging other people around them instead of making them move because it clearly wasn't going to work. (The driver was one of the ones who had downed a few too many, but for some strange reason no one thought of reassigning him to some other iconic community institution, like, the county jail.) The sole purpose of the float was to give six or seven inebriated adults the opportunity to wow the community with their singing. To quote an infamous Jay-line, "What I'm trying to say is this: it was the worst karaoke I have ever heard in my entire life."
Anyway, this year Jay was at Leadership academy so he was obviously missed. We (mom, Emily, and I) arrived at six-thirty in the morning, and when we hopped out of the car it became very apparent that it was cold, windy, and, wet. Yes, wet! In all of the years I've been helping with parade registration we've had some pretty inclement weather but we've never had rain. (In fact, when the weather called for rain the day before, Dad said that if rain did indeed come he was sure the parade would be canceled.)
We must have looked rather imposing, three girls standing there in leather jackets with this, "Parade Check-In" sign out in the road next to us. The Public Works guys came by at precisely 6:30 to shut down the road. This was quite an interesting event as cars seemed to be completely oblivious to the orange cones and the public works representative(s) seemed to be very unused to shutting down roads. (It wouldn't be easy to explain what exactly they were doing, but it did not, at least for awhile, resemble closing down a road.) Pretty soon my grandpa showed up with unbelievably hot Hot Chocolate and muffins and we sat to await our first "customers". This year our family and our grandparents (my mom's parents and my dad's mom) were doing the registration for the parade single-handedly, so I was pretty excited about that opportunity.
Everything went along swimmingly until I saw this.....flatbed truck (think: truck you'd see on a farm in Oklahoma. Run by giants. It was HUGE.) with about 30 kids on it screaming something like, We are the Tigers, the mighty, mighty Tigers.... They actually didn't sound very mighty at all but the part I was worried about was the fact that I really didn't recognize the name of whatever entrant they obviously were. I went up to the window on the truck and a very jolly, very round man said, "Hi! We're with the White Tigers Tae Kwan Do." Whoa. I nodded kindly, furiously consulted my paper, and returned with, "Um....so.....you're registered for the parade?"
Not a question that an Official Parade Official should have to ask.
About the time of my third or fourth list consultation, I looked up to see......The White Tiger. Actually, I just made up that name for him but it really fits. He was apparently the head honcho behind The White Tiger Tae Kwan Do Group In General, and this guy was huge, extremely fit, mouth tightened in a perfectly straight line, and hair almost completely grey although he couldn't have been more than thirty years old. He walked with an attitude, he was huge, and his feet never completely touched the ground. He was imposing, to put it nicely. "So, what seems to be the problem?" he asked.
I told him, and he had, or should I say, pitched, a little fit. Silently, of course. He just stared at me with this, I can't believe you just said that to me. He proceeded to say, "I signed up for this parade months ago so I wouldn't have to be in the back of the parade!"
He was furious. Anyway, I did the only logical thing to do in the situation: I turned him over to mom, who can make any mad person regret their attitude instantly. (I usually incite them to further riot; I've never been able to figure out why. :D) When he was in the actual parade (yes, it rained on our parade. Imagine that.) he did this demonstration that was astonishing. I'm so glad that I didn't get him mad because this guy was amazing. He would wield this little stick and go flying around in the air, seeming to be off the ground for way too long, kicking and hi-yah'ing and other stuff. Of all the people to provoke!
After the parade we upheld a longstanding tradition to go Jack In The Box for milkshakes. Always my Grandpa Alves' treat. He usually has a habit of ordering at least half again as much as we need, and the shakes there are in no ways small. Thankfully this year during the parade he passed around a "sign-up sheet" asking people to mark how many they wanted (the universally accepted number was "One") and what variety (most people picked Strawberry or Vanilla but some defected to Blackberry when that option became available). Keep in mind that there were sub-freezing temperatures outside (well, not really, but the closest thing to that for So Cal in the fall) and here we were all shivering drinking our milkshakes. They were really good and very cold; we're gluttons for punishment. :D
Saturday afternoon/evening was very quiet! Dad and Mom went out for their 22nd anniversary (they went out to dinner, then went grocery shopping, and then went to the hardware store to buy a squirrel trap. Very typical of them. Those two!), Jay was gone (obviously), and Emily was at a birthday party. Therefore Daniel, Mally, Whitney and I were the only ones home. I never thought I'd live to see the day when having three of my siblings home with me would seem like an empty house! For so many years it was just me, Em, and Jay. :D
The little kids helped me make supper, we watched a movie, and had caramel popcorn. It was great fun.
Sunday a friend came over with his two daughters, Asa and Monet (I can just hear the crowds clamoring for a proper pronunciation key. Asa: A-suh, Monet: mo-NAY). I enjoyed lunch but I was antsy, carrying my cell phone around with me almost religiously to make sure that I wouldn't miss Jay's call....if he called. Finally he did, but on the house phone! We'd all been guessing whose cell he would call, so it was a bit of a letdown for him to call on our house phone. :) Dad went to go pick him up, and when they came back he was tightlipped and wouldn't tell us anything until he'd told us the whole story, which took three hours..........we all sat in rapt attention. It's so much fun to hear stories from his perspective, especially after a brutal week like that one. I'll write a separate post about that, because it really deserves its own. :D
It was a great weekend!
Saturday was The Hesperia Days' Parade.