Friday, June 26, 2009

Fourth of July Memories

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As another 4th of July quickly approaches, I'm reminded of days gone by. Our 4th of July celebrations have always started with the big parade held every year in Winslow (our hometown). We have participated in this parade over the years as well as being observers.

One year, my son Adam, agreed to let me create a huge banana split made out of various fabrics to place over a riding lawn mower to drive in the parade. We owned an ice cream shop at the time and felt it would be good advertising. Adam was a hit in the parade, doing 360's with the banana split to the delight of the crowd.

Another year, Kim, an employee of ours, agreed to let me create yet another ice cream product, this time for her to wear in the parade. I created an ice cream cone, again with fabric and a hula hoop to support the brown fabric ice cream on top of the cone. She wore a red baseball cap as the cherry on top. She handed out discount cards and was a great sport. It is a long parade and the day was one of our warmest. She walked the whole parade, waving to the crowd and really enjoying herself. Some people did think she looked like a cupcake though because she isn't very tall.

Another year, Adam & Chris (my other son), decorated a golf cart from my in-law's driving range next to the ice cream shop with signs advertising the range. In the back of the cart, they made a golfer out of two by fours, who was wearing a golf shirt, shorts, & cap, and holding a golf club - teeing off. Other employees carried water guns to cool off the crowd. Again, it got applause from the spectators, who were also welcoming the relief from the heat. They also through out candy to the young children, who were chasing all of the floats to see how much candy they could collect.

One of the most memorable July 4th's included a parade again, but not the parade in our hometown. This one was just as much fun but on a much smaller scale. My mom had suffered a severe stroke and had other serious health issues as a result afterward. She unfortunately was unable to live alone any longer and we all had to make the most difficult decision of having her move into an assisted living facility. It was a lovely place, but it is never like home...

In the two years that she lived there, I got to know quite a few of the residents quite well. They looked as forward to visits by my brothers and sisters and I as my mother did. Some of them did not get alot of company because their families did not live close by. I come from a family of six children; 4 of us who lived fairly close by and visited all the time.

Ironically enough, most of the residents were women. Mom and I decided to form a Red Hat group at the facility. She was the Queen and I was her right hand. I received a generous donation from the company that I work for and used it to pay for the membership as well as buy several red hats, some ribbon, & assorted red & purple flowers. I then decorated the hats with the flowers and ribbon to give to the members as they were signed up. We signed up quite a few ladies, although some were hesitant at first and didn't really know what the Red Hatters were all about. I'll talk more about our group - The Red Hot Mama's in a future blog posting.

This particular year, we decided to have our own parade right in the circular drive in front of the assisted living building as most of the ladies hadn't been to a parade in many years. We purchased flags for the ladies and some decorations. We decorated many wheelchairs, walkers, and canes in red, white, & blue streamers. I enlisted two of my brothers and their wives and small children to participate in our parade. They decorated the children's wagons and bikes and gave them balloons and flags to carry. Any of the Red Hatters that wanted or could participate did. Some were pushed in their wheelchairs and a couple of them walked with their walkers. They wore their red hats and carried the flags with pride. The other ladies lined up on the front porches to participate from the sidelines. My brother John had recorded marching band music, which we had playing from the porch.

The ladies were so thrilled with our homemade parade that we went around the circular drive twice in time to the lively music. We followed it up with an ice cream social in the dining hall for all the residents. It was the highpoint of the weekend for all of them as well as for us!

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you have had some wodnerful 4th of Julys. I am touched by the lenghts you and your family have gone to , to make this occasion so special for your Mother and her friends.

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    Have a great day!