Reflecting on Parade Day: Is There Something Wrong With Us?

This weekend is the summer festival weekend, A.K.A. Kornfest, for our town! There are carnival rides, a car show, bands in the beer tent, fireworks, funnel cakes, a fun run, a lengthy parade, and now a craft show.  Over the eighteen years we have lived here, the festivities have grown. It is a large, anticipated, end of summer event that draws members from other communities to ours.

The parade is a popular event, and seems to be growing in its attendance. This was evidenced last night by the number of people who “reserved” their “spot” on the curb, hours (a day actually for some) before the parade commenced today at 11 a.m..

For years, many years, we had family members in either the middle school or high school marching bands. This meant navigating the streets before they were closed to reach the band/parade entry line up spot in a residential area of our town. After several years, I learned the trick of navigation, knowing which streets to go down and which to avoid. It became a usual course of action on Kornfest parade morning that always bore frustration but was soon forgotten as we watched our students perform their newly learned music for the marching season.

We do not have any students in the bands any longer. While they were part of band in middle school, I could not convince my youngest two boys to try high school band. It disappointed me at the time, but I am okay with it now. Afterall, they are the student, not me. While I still know many band students/families, it makes it more difficult to focus on the musicians during the parade when none of them belong to me.  Basically,  I realized that the meaning of attending the parade had changed for our family.  I noted this last year, when we attended the parade  for the first time without a student obligated to march with their school group.

 

Last year, parade morning fell on a day off for my husband. My college senior, our avid musician, was home and we all attended. It felt weird. Maybe it was a sense of longing for something we do not have any longer, a band student. Still, I am not sure that is it. We no longer have small children, those that revel in the candy being thrown and the fire engine’s horn being blown. In general, we do not like crowds or misbehavior,  both of which can be seen during any parade, not just our’s.  In any case, time moves forward, children grow, change and develop their own affinity for school related activities.  We have transitioned from a “band/theater family” to a “soccer/tennis/track family.” Responsibilities for parents, and even students, remain much the same whether you are involved in music or sports.  Both are obligations. Both groups have demands and benefits. Both need community support.  Both have their frustrations and their joys.

This past week my youngest had soccer tryouts. He made the varsity team for the second year in a row! He works hard at this sport.  It constituted arriving on the pitch every morning  (Monday – Saturday) this past week by 6:45 a.m. for training camp, and being picked up between 10:30 and 11:00 a.m.. Two nights, he had to return for more drills from from 6:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. and last night he was gone from 4:30 p.m. to after 8 p.m. to play against high school alumni. Minimum there was 25.5 hours of practice if you stick to the times on the practice schedule and did not count the days that ran slightly over. It’s a lot of time. Truly, I did not really realize the amount of time atheletes spend perfecting their skills and team-work, until I had one. It is akin to a musician practicing their instrument and playing with the band. Hours upon hours of hard work – for both groups!

We did not go to the parade today. Does that mean something is wrong with us? I say no. For those of you saying, “but you did not support the community.” I say, you are wrong. We support our local community in so many other ways – ways that also count.

But, today my husband had to work. My oldest is back at college as school starts on Monday. My 17-year-old also had to work. And, my soccer player is tired.  I still had to navigate the soon to be closed roads, but not to get a student to the band line up spot, now it was to get a student to the soccer field.  He mentioned the parade, I said I would go. After all, we have gone to it for over ten years, faithfully.  That was yesterday. Neither one of us brought it up today. It is okay. Times change. We change. The parade goes on. It will continue to go on whether we are there or not.

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