Monday, February 9, 2009

Everybody Loves A Parade




Let me tell you a little something about my Uncle J.C. he was one of the most resourceful people I’ve ever met. I honestly don’t think there is anything that man couldn’t do besides personally giving birth and he would have done that if he could have figured out how. He never wasted anything and taught me a lot about myself.

Like when he was trying to teach me to drive and I told him I couldn’t because my legs weren’t long enough like the other kids to reach the pedals. He told me my legs were as long as everyone else’s. They went from my ass to the ground and back up and that was plenty long. Then he put my 9 year-old Gladys self in the drivers seat and told me to drive. We were in the middle of about 400 acres of pasture land. I was so small I couldn’t see over the steering wheel. I scooted all the way up and kind of half stood and half squatted in order to reach the pedals and see to make it through the gate. Then I eased my foot down on the gas pedal and roared across the cattle guard. Uncle J.C. sat in the passenger seat with a big grin on his face and said “You might want to lighten up on the gas a little so you don’t run over my bull.” He didn’t yell, he didn’t panic he just laughed and told me I was doing fine.

He always let me ride the horses when I went to see him. I have told you before that I have a life long love of horses. Now just because I love horses doesn’t mean I can sit one pretty. What do I mean by that? Well let’s just say that little monkey that rides the Border collie at every rodeo I’ve ever been to has better posting skills than I.
I apologize to the monkey. He rides much better than I do.

Uncle J would put me on George, the horse, and then he would make me walk around a bit before he would let me go. He would tell me scooch back on the saddle. Don’t hang on to the horn so tight. Relax. George WANTs you to be relaxed. Then he would go off to finish whatever chore I interrupted him doing. I would walk and trot and bounce all over the closest pasture. Old George doing his best to not just stand and eat grass and me hanging on for dear life. Uncle J would check on me now and then, giving me constructive criticism and trying to build my confidence.

I have mentioned this before but I love my quirky cousins and the time I spent with them every summer was magic. With them I felt like a real person not someone found under a rock. I felt pretty and funny and most of all one of the big kids. You see I was the youngest and they were almost all grown when I got to hang out with them. They treated me just like I was one of them. Well with the exception that they carried me around on their hip until I was 22 years-old. Okay I wasn’t 22 but I was 12 when they realized I was 12 and they were still lugging me around like toddler. There was a carnival in the little country town that they lived close to. We always tried to time a trip to the “ranch” during “homecoming”. The carnies would come set up their rides and everyone would get together and build parade floats. Then they would have a big parade down Main Street in Hico and everyone for miles would come to town in order to wave at the pretty girls in the gorgeous dresses perched atop tons of Kleenex flowers and miles of crepe paper.

Saturday was the Winter Carnival parade in Whitefish. It isn’t much different than those days gone by of my youth. Everyone from all the surrounding farms and ranches, bergs and communities will gather on Main Street. People who have been shut in with the snow and cold will come out to watch crazy people shuck off their coats and kick off their shoes to jump into a hole they dug in the frozen lake. Then they will all gather to watch the floats amble their way up Main Street with pretty girls atop. People will cheer when they see their daughter or son go by playing in the local band. Horses will clomp through the icy sludge left over from yesterday’s snow storm. It will be just like my youth only instead of a hot humid August day it will be a cold grey February parade.



Because all parades need horses and Mountain Men.



And Yettis and sled dogs hanging out of the back of trucks.




And Penguins and Giant Horses with Giants Riding them.

I inspected each float as it went by to see how it was put together. Did they have a J.C. that knew to rig the tractor up so that it could pull the weight of his flat bed loaded down with paper machete and Kleenex? Would they have used the left over chicken wire and made molds out of old feed drums to make columns? I will look and revel in my memories of my childhood. My memories of my Uncle J.C.’s resourcefulness and my cousin’s artistic abilities to make a beautiful display out of leftover farm supplies.

11 comments:

Toad said...

Some of those mountain men look like Mrs. T's family members. Her sisters especially.

MJ said...

Oh the joys of small town life. Some people just don't get it.

Gladys said...

Toad You better hope Mrs. Toad doesn't read Gladys.

Debbie said...

What a sweet post. I bet your Uncle J was a very fine man.

Cher said...

Ahh, small town parades. When I wasn't in 'em, I was standing o top of the newspaper building watching 'em go by. Good memories.

The Texas Woman

Renovation Therapy said...

Toad!!! tsk tsk tsk

LOL

morethananelectrician said...

Those Yettis (what is the plural for "yetti"?) look like something I pulled out of my wife's tub drain.

Katherine Aucoin said...

You have some wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing. You uncle is so cool.

Bee and Rose said...

A great post! The Sasquatch dudes had me at hello...

VE said...

Good stories...

If I were an alien and wanted to check out Earth without looking suspicious, I'd enter in a parade...

Queenie said...

I want to see that parade!!! It reminds me of the one here, the Egg Festival Parade, where everyone dresses like chickens on steroids and omelets are served up in the World's Largest Frying Pan. (I do not lie. Look it up.) And remind me to tell you about the Central Maine Precision Marching Lawn Chair Drill Team - of which I am of course the leader. I even have a whistle.