Patricia Craig Johnson --- Searching for My Ancestors --- Sharing My Life Stories

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Monday, September 5, 2011

2011 Windsor Labor Day Parade - Read All About It

The Committee What fun! A nice, pleasant Saturday morning in September and five Friday’s Council Tree members, one husband and two little girls met at Cathy E’s house to turn a long flatbed trailer into a work of art. It can’t be done, you say? Plus, five women agreeing on how to do something? Believe me, it IS possible.

We not only did, but, we had a great time doing it. The artistic imagination of each lady began to come out as we tried different designs and set ups. Vicki C brought her set of harmonic bells and they were fun to play with. Rebecca R tried to teach me how to play them but soon gave up on that idea. Anna R was busy fetching things which is a big help in a project like this. We were all like a bunch of kids looking in the sacks to see what decorations we had to work with. It was like a big grab bag affair. Everyone brought different items and we just put it all together.

Dave R, our favorite HODAR, picked up the bails of hay and set them on the trailer for us. Whew, his strength and long arms sure came in handy. He shortly retreated to a shady spot in Cathy’s yard and sat and read the newspaper as the rest of us got busy.

Lyn R got busy covering our hay bails that are the seats on the float. These make very solid, almost unmovable seats for passengers. Covered in Vicki C’s red white and blue quilts they look nice as a centerpiece of their own. But it might look kind of funny to have a float with just bails of hay on it and no people so we opted for adding people.

Cathy E and Martha R got busy applying the border around the trailer, and it turned out so nice. We put the flags in their holders so we could see the final effect and they looked great. We have a new flag this year that says “Support Our Troops”. We decide to place it at the end of the float so it would swirl out towards the crowd if there is any breeze. Vicki C and I stayed and, with Cathy E we came up with a way to anchor the new flag securely. It is very impressive, of course we had it set it on the trailer to admire it.

During one of our “water breaks” Vicki C and I decided we could possibly come up with a bell duet of a patriotic song to do on the float. Needless to say, our ovation from the other ladies was NOT a standing one. But something good came out of it as Martha R offered to bring her boombox and I will bring my patriotic song CD and we WILL have music playing, just a bit more professional than if Vicki and I were playing it.

So in two and a half hours we turned a flat bed trailer into the most patriotic and loudest float you have ever seen. It will be an eye stopper for sure. Will we win first prize in our category again? Will the crowd love us? Will Windsor know they have a DAR Chapter in their midst? At this point I don’t know, but I know we have had fun so far and expect to do the same on Monday September 5.

The Parade
What a good old fashioned September morning! The weather was absolutely gorgeous --- and no wind like last year. By 9am all of the participants had arrived and we enjoyed visiting as we put the finishing touches on the float. The little people looked so adorable in their colonial costumes they were a show stopper for sure. The float was about as “red white and blue” as you can get. Dave R’s beautiful 1949 Chevy Pick Up was the star of the show again.

Unfortunately, the boombox did not make it to the Parade this year so we were a bit more quiet than we intended to be. But, there was plenty of noise so it was okay. We added a special flag this year. It’s a beautiful “Support Our Troops” flag and it rode solo at the back of the float so it had its own showcase.

The longest part of any parade is the waiting to get rolling. There has to be an order to it, but we were sure the officials had lost interest at float #50 and we were #63. It gave us plenty of time to get our bells and whistles ready to go. Finally at close to 10am we were ready to join in the long line of floats. There were many after us and we were #63, so you can see this Parade is very popular.

It was a good feeling to step back in time when families didn’t have to go on an African Safari on every three day weekend that comes along. Just stay home and enjoy their homes, yards, families and community. And enjoy it they did! Walnut Street was packed solid with lawn chairs and benches. Then we turned onto 7th Street and it was well lined all the way to the end at Eastman Park.

We were so lucky to have a “walking crew” that handled the 3,000 (maybe more) flags we handed out. Yes, that many flags and I watched as mostly children reached for them. There were a few disappointed little faces if they missed out, but usually the next person would see them and they got one after all. Even little toddlers knew exactly what it do with them and started waving them as soon as they had one.

The “riders” all rang bells and once in awhile would use the big dinner bell (triangle) that was very loud. We smiled and rang and waved and it was a wonderfully patriotic day. A person’s heart does swell up when our beautiful flag passes, so many stood and paid homage to our flag as we passed. The 1776 flag caught the eye of the crowd as it passed.

It was a smaller crew this year (20), but as they say, there is no limit to what a select few can do. Of course, we aren’t Marines, but we can accomplish so much when we set our sights on a goal and today, was the outcome of that kind of thinking. We all felt especially good as we dispersed at Eastman Park. Proud of our wonderful country, proud of our troops, proud of our flag, proud of Friday’s Council Tree Chapter, NSDAR and having fun at the same time. Thank you to two Dave’s. One is our truck driver and one lends us the trailer for our float every year. Thank you to all that helped. Patj

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