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Sticking to my parade story

Published 10:02pm Saturday, May 17, 2014

Who doesn’t love a parade?

Well, to be honest — me.

It’s a dangerous thing for a community newspaper editor to admit — we have at least four parades a year in Suffolk, after all — but I have to work myself into a parade-going mood every time it’s my turn to cover one.

Parades — especially when the fire trucks are passing by — can be very loud, and I typically choose quiet activities for fun. When the Shriners are zipping by in their little cars, I can think of nothing except for the nightmare that would ensue if one little thing went wrong; there are no safety fences protecting the spectators from these little cars, after all. And when I’m standing on the side of the road taking photos, I always have a nagging feeling that my rotundity is blocking someone’s view.

So parades are hardly ever relaxing for me.

And that’s OK, because I always appreciate seeing children and their parents and grandparents having a good time at such events. In fact, when I’m shooting a parade, it’s as likely that I’ll have my camera turned on the spectators as on the passing parade units (which, of course, only adds to my unease when the Shriner cars are zipping around behind me).

But something I’ve noticed about Suffolk’s parades is how much I enjoy myself when the marching bands are passing. My wife stopped attending these events with me a long time ago, and that’s probably a good thing, as she would be mortified to the point of walking away if she saw me bouncing along to the beat of a high school drum corps when it passes by on the street.

Annette claims that I lack rhythm. I like to think I bounce to my own beat. Either way, she prefers it when I don’t bounce in public, so it’s generally a good thing for us to avoid situations that might put us together near a marching band.

On Saturday, during the Ruritan Founders’ Day parade in Holland, I heard the beat from down the street (see, I can bust out the rhymes, too!), and I suddenly noticed I was bouncing ever so slightly. When the King’s Fork band shouted “YO-ohh!” as it passed, I had to stifle the urge to shout back. When the Nansemond River drum major high-stepped past my position, I wanted to fall right in behind him. And when the Lakeland band stopped for a few dance moves — well, no I did NOT join in for a second.

That’s my story, honey, and I’m sticking to it.

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