You know when trout season opens that the time of parades and festivals and rodeos is upon you. Saturday was the first, the May Day Festival at a town up the road. Small town parades at this time of year are celebrations of the fact that we made it through the long hard winter; we did it together, as a community; and, as a community, we can get through anything.
And so every part of town life is dressed up and paraded down main street, and even those things that have a serious or even threatening side--the fire department and law enforcement--are seen for what they really are at their best: the way we help each other out, and watch each other's back. And all kinds of different people, people who might look askance at each other at any other time, stand side by side along the street and chat and joke and help each other's kids share the candy thrown by the passing floats. Everyone is glad to be reminded that they aren't alone, and that we're all in this together.
We've been here long enough to know what to expect in these parades, and we still like it all. There are always the princesses and attendants...
The marching bands...
And Smoky the Bear.
There are, of course, the sirens, now signalling only delight.
The Shriners can always be counted on to keep things on a high level. And they don't throw out candy, they pass out stuffed animals to all the kids.
You'll always see some of your friends out there, with the Garden Club, or the hospital auxiliary, or just having fun like my friend Pat.
And, my favorite, the Rodeo Queens.
It all makes everybody feel like a kid again.
To the site of the Three-on Three Basketball Tournament. This is big. Dozens of teams in several age brackets play on eight courts all day to determine bragging rights until next year.
This is street ball, and it can get rough. And it's not just for the boys. The "Smokin' Hot Babes" in the flourescent green shirts did a number on their opponents.
And sometimes injuries can occur.
That's why Jeremiah likes it so much. He had been looking forward to this for a long time. His team, "The Average Joes," played hard but got beat twice and were eliminated. By now, their opponents, from several different towns, are friends, too. It's easier to get beat by friends.
So what do you do when you've been eliminated from the tournament? You go fishing in the river with your friend and make sure your friend's Dad sends a photo message to your parents of your best Smallmouth of the day.