Sunday, July 4, 2010

The 4th of July Parade and the Fire Truck

When I was a teenager, I was involved in the community 4th of July parade. My parents were active in the community and this was included on their calendar. My mother owned one of the local businesses and we decided to have a float in the parade. Crews of friends and neighbors helped to decorate a borrowed flatbed truck. It was adorned with red, white, and blue streamers. There were silk flowers and ribbons everywhere. Patriotic bunting was draped on the truck and it was surprisingly well decorated for a small parade.

The day of the event, we met at the starting point of the parade. My "Uncle Johnny"(not a real relative) was in charge of assignments for all of the parade participants. He made my dad park the truck behind the third of three fire department units there for the festivities. We were number four in the parade line up. There, in front of us, was a bright red, fire truck. Firemen included. We waited for all of the vehicles, bike groups, antique cars, and folks walking to get in position. Family and friend who were riding on the float or in the front of the truck joined us.

Soon it was time to begin. The truck drove along, as those of us on the back tried to steady ourselves. Some folks opted for sitting through the parade, but five or six of us decided to stand. The truck rolled along the bumpy road. After about the first half mile of the parade, the fire truck in front of us left their siren on longer than they had been. Small bursts of siren sound excited children in the crowd, but the siren was now blaring. The fire trucks took off and my father followed. They were driving like they were going to a FIRE! Wow, I didn't know Daddy could drive like that! We were holding on for dear life. Flowers and streamer flew from the truck. We all began to yell for my father to stop the truck. It was as though he was living out some unfulfilled dream of being a fireman. He eventually realized that the fire trucks were going on a call and pulled over. We assessed the crew on the back of our float, or is that wannabe fire truck, maybe race car! Everyone was alright. Most were a bit shaken, but no one had been hurt. We rejoined the parade at the park that was the final destination. We all had a story to tell.
I gained a new respect for fire house dalmatians that day!

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