Friday, July 5, 2013

A big view of a small town

First were the fire trucks. Red trucks with sirens roaring from all the little towns surrounding Angola. On and on they came. Big trucks shaking the streets as they passed. A caravan of Budget Rentals. A band of motorcycles. A tiny band of about twenty from a nearby school. Little girls twirling batons. Friends and neighbors lining the streets. Small town USA on the 4th of July.

I had never been to a small town parade. This was a new experience. In Oregon, we have the Grand Floral Parade where parade goers must mark off a place to sit at least a day before the parade. We have the Starlight Parade the night before the Grand Floral. Still they do not qualify for a small town parade.

About ten minutes before the parade began, we walked across the backyard and the neighbor's lawn to set up our chairs along the street. Families wandered along chatting with other parade goers. Children ran out to grab candy that was tossed from passing cars and trucks. A nice cool day spent sitting out under a tree, watching a small town celebrate. It was heartwarming.

I guess we did have parades when I was growing up, but I don't remember my parents ever taking us to town to watch one. I marched in the band in a few. Hated marching band thus was not thrilled about parades.

I don't know if small towners realize what beauty surrounds them. The wonderful sweetness of a small town. The old homes that have been restored and kept up, the local businesses which are supported despite big box stores, the friendliness that greets you when you go to town. Those are the things that should be protected and cherished.  They are true Americana and priceless.

Today we went to Coldwater, Michigan. It was a first time for me to visit the beautiful town. The old houses are gorgeous. The old opera house restored to its past splendor. The old brick buildings calling back days when farmers and fishermen came into town for supplies. The same is true for the other small towns around here. This desire to protect the old architecture of the past is one I hope we can pass on to younger generations. I appreciate the past preserved in Greenville and Arcanum. Once the small town beauty is gone, it is gone forever.

Can't think of any place I would rather have been this year on the 4th than parked out along an Angola street,watching a parade and waving at people I do not know....having the time of my life. Just might be back next year for the next one.

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