TREENA MIELKE/On The Other Side
Summer is here, slowly sweating long lazy days out of the open pores of calendar pages that turn all too quickly.
It is a fact that the pages of summer turn steadily and with an unrelenting steady beat, but as they turn they always seem to bring with them a surprise element that turns the predictable and the ordinary into a cotton candy kind of good thing.
Take a parade!
Not everyone loves a parade. In fact some people say, ‘You’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.” And even Mother Nature, who is unpredictable at best, was a little confused as to whether she should rain on the one happening in Rimbey last week or just go with it.
It turns out she went for the later and the much speculated rain drops fell just after the last float slowly made its way back to where good floats get to go after they are done parading.
I was a judge at the parade and even though I found myself wrapping my winter coat around me in defiance of the nasty wind that scattered helter-skelter my papers and thoughts and those of my fellow judge, I quite loved being on the sidelines, out of my office, watching.
To me, watching a parade is a great way to spend a summer afternoon.
I liked how everyone smiled and waved and threw candy.
I liked the little kids and the big kids and the vintage cars and the music that seemed to float over the entire town (and probably did).
I watched and I squinted my eyes against the sun and the wind and I tried my very best to live up to the serious expectations placed upon me as a judge.
But I kept forgetting my role and found myself only wanting to play. I waved at the people who waved at me and then resisted the urge to manhandle some little kid and wrestle him for one of those soft chewy candies that I love.
And, then for just a moment it seemed time stood still and as I squinted my eyes against the sun and the wind and a few drops of rain spattered dangerously close to my notebook, the present just faded away and I was standing on another street in another town watching another parade wind its way slowly down main street.
She was five years old and her eyes were the color of the sky just before the rain hits.
She was wearing a little house on the prairie type dress and her blonde braids peeked out from under a matching sunbonnet. She had a few schoolbooks neatly stacked in the basket of her bike and an old tin lunch bucket swung on her handlebars.
She has won ‘best decorated bike’ and proudly sported her trophy atop her schoolbooks.
I smiled at the little girl in my mind, remembering how I could hardly manoeuvre my very pregnant self enough to place the plastic flowers on the little pink and white frame of her bike.
And, how, in less than two weeks when her trophy was still new and shiny, the excitement of winning in the parade paled to the wonder of having a new baby sister.
I rubbed my eyes and came back to the present.
We gave out first place certificates and honorable mention certificates and then we all went somewhere inside out of the rain.
And once again I was grateful for the heartbeat of summer and the way small town parades have a way of taking an ordinary day and turning it into something just a little bit special.
In the past, in the present and no doubt, in the future!