Happy Sunday night, everyone! How was your weekend?
Teacher Man, Joe and I drove out to the farm on Friday and enjoyed some time with family. My dad grilled the most Uh-Mazing turkey on Friday night that was the perfect complement to this light and tasty pasta salad. We finished off the meal with my mom’s peach crisp with maple cream sauce so no complaints from this girl.
Saturday was a weird weather day – it was humid but cloudy, and a light rain parked itself over my hometown (Hector, Minnesota) and threatened to to put a damper on the annual Corn Chaff Days parade. We all piled into two vehicles and were heading into town when my brother called me and said his daughter (my niece, Miss A.) had texted that the parade was cancelled and he could pick her up at the school.
After further investigation, however, we found out that while the marching band was cancelled, the parade itself would go on as planned. Whew!
Hector’s annual Corn Chaff Days is very much a typical small town parade – heavy on the tractors, trucks and general machinery. This isn’t a bad thing; rather, it’s source of pride in the community and you can tell the town’s agricultural roots are celebrated. I love that.
So what are the best ways to enjoy a small town parade? Here are seven I came up with as I was experiencing the parade on Saturday:
1) Enjoy it with family. In this case, my parents, sister, her daughter, my brother, his daughter and Joe and I took our spots on Main Street in front of the bank. A small-town parade is always better with your family around you!
2) By visiting with a clown on Main Street. Here’s something you don’t see every day: my mom chatting it up with local clown who was walking the parade. Let’s face it, everyone in Hector seems to know everyone else; that’s how it works and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
3) Listen to the bagpipes. This may be the first parade in Hector that didn’t have a polka band playing on a float (that I can recall, anyway), but we had two brave bagpipers who added a little Scottish touch to a town that tends heavily toward the Scandinavian and German heritages. (On an unrelated note, that building in the background, named the “News Mirror”, is where I wrote some of my first news stories while I was a journalism student at the University of Minnesota. I was a summer intern there for two years. Memories.)
4) Wave to a politician. Our little parade always has at least one politician – and often more. Doesn’t every parade? This is Congressman Collin Peterson, who, incidentally, I will be meeting with in Washington DC next week to “talk turkey”, but that’s another story for another day …
5) Admire the long line of tractors. Old tractors, new tractors, red tractors, green tractors, big tractors, little tractors. It’s all about the tractors in this parade – as it should be. Hector’s agricultural roots are traced back to the town’s very beginnings and like most small towns, farm implements are a welcome addition to any parade.
6) Enjoy with a first-timer. My niece, Miss Morgan, is nearly 7 months old and this was her very first parade experience. She was looking a little skeptical at first but she loves being outside and warmed up to all the activity. Mostly, the parade was devoid of any crazy loud sounds that might freak her out. Except, that is, for a locomotive-turned-vehicle that emitted a pretty obnoxious noise every once in awhile. Lucky for Miss Morgan, her momma, Grandpa Michael and cousin Joe were there to cover her ears and let her know she was in good hands.
7. With lots and lots of candy. An hour later, give or take, we all headed back to the farm for lunch. And for Joe and Miss A., that included lugging a very large bag full of a ridiculous amount of candy they picked up while at the parade. I called dibs on the Smarties. (I’m old school like that.)