As a rule, I don't go to parades any more either, for the same afore-mentioned aversion to crowds. Not to mention they usually take place in either blistering heat or unbearable cold.
So it was with some surprise that I found myself viewing a July 4th parade yesterday. It was a most enjoyable experience.
I was invited by some new acquaintances to attend the annual Watterson Cemetery Picnic, which is held every year on July 4th. I am connected to the tiny community of Watterson by virtue of the fact that my grandmother was born there and my Frankum ancestors farmed there for a period of time. However, the family members that died while living there were buried over in the Old Red Rock Cemetery a few miles west and the rest of them moved on to the greener (?) pastures of Wharton and Brazoria counties. So I have no family buried in Watterson and have not had reason to get involved with that cemetery association. 'Til now.
I knew basically what to expect from one of these picnics, but I'll have to say these folks really do it up right. They have constructed a large pavilion on the site, with a separate covered bar-b-cue pit. When I arrived the pit was going strong and as I sat and visited with my new friends, the crowd started to arrive, each arrival carrying at least two bowls of food. By the time the dinner whistle blew (courtesy of one of the elder men, a really good whistler), there were two long rows of tables piled with food. Sausage and chicken from the pit, blackeyed peas, deviled eggs, all kinds of salads and slaws, potatoes of every description, baked beans, corn, homemade pickles, pies, gelatins, cookies, brownies, cakes, strudel, fruit. Oh, my God, what a feast and I hastily bid adieu to my intention to stick to my diet and piled up a plate full of food and another plate of dessert samples and I ate every last bite, washing it down with perfect iced tea. It was a marvelous way to celebrate the 4th.
Some families were taking the opportunity to have a family reunion within the picnic and set up their own picnic tents under the huge live oaks. I'm guessing there were at least 200 folks in attendance, a lot of them related on the cousin level. There was a good breeze that blew through the pavilion, so as long as you weren't standing out in the sun, you forgot just how terribly hot it was.
The kids parade took place shortly after the meal. The leaders were a couple of boys on tricycles, followed by a young girl on drums who played a snappy cadence, and then by an assortment of kids walking or riding bicycles, all carrying flags. They marched along the circular drive that runs through the cemetery, making the full circle while an assortment of moms and dads snapped pictures and took video. It was the best 4th of July parade I've seen in a long, long time.
I was pleasantly surprised this year that we've had no fireworks set off in our neighborhood. I guess everyone is fully aware that the dry conditions should be respected. It has been a very pleasant holiday weekend, following a most pleasant week of relaxation. It's back to work tomorrow, but I go back knowing my house is in much better order than it was a week ago, the cats are getting along and I can let Dixie have the run of the house now, and quite a few things have been scratched off my to-do list.
It's been fun.