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Jayna joined the marching band this summer as a banner carrier, and the NRHEG band has worked hard since May putting together a Wild-themed marching show to perform at competitions and parades. They’ve marched every weekend in June and July, with the final performance this past weekend for New Richland’s Farm & City Days parade.

My daughter’s had a fun time, but realized just how much work goes into this show and just how much work it is to walk all these parade routes. No more is she the casual observer, gathering candy from the streets, but instead the sweating parade marcher who is thankful when the end of the route approaches.

We haven’t followed her to all the parades this summer, but after running the gauntlet of Ellendale, Albert Lea, Blooming Prairie, and now New Richland over three weeks, I’m about paraded out. In fact, as I sat watching the Blooming Prairie parade on July 4th, I started wondering what a person who was not exposed to parades every year might think about the constant stream of tractors, horses, fire engines, and bands.

Well, my question was soon answered. Sitting behind me was a young man visiting our country from Colombia. The people around him were attempting to explain every unit that went by, but I heard little response from this boy. At one point, one of the people explaining asked him if he understood everything. The response was something along the lines of, “I don’t really understand much of this. I just stopped paying attention.”

After the parade, I asked him if they had parades in his home country. He told me only when the military decided to show off or when there was a change in government, nothing like our many-colored, varied-theme parades. He was also startled when Tootsie Rolls came flying his way!

So what is it about parades that so enrapture us, that thousands of people show up in places like Albert Lea and Blooming Prairie to watch essentially the same thing every year?

We’ve attended Blooming’s parade ever since I met Michelle, since her cousin lives on the parade route and always hosts a family and friends potluck. I think many people do this; I see many of the same groups of people around us on that block in BP. It’s a great reason to plan something, centered around a big event.

I’ve always loved watching the bands, probably because I remember my own marching band days. The shows they put on now are much more advanced than our stay-in-a-straight-line performances and always enjoyable. Plus, there’s always at least one polka band in most of the bigger parades! You can’t go wrong with some good polka music!

I’d like to make a proposal though for 2016. We all know the politicians will be out in force next year since it’s a major election year. I think I may make my decision on voting based on candy thrown. (Why not? They all do about the same amount of nothing when on the job.) Whoever throws out the best candy gets my vote!

Can we please put a moratorium on Tootsie Rolls for at least one year? Between those and Dum-Dum suckers, we’ve got enough to last until Halloween. In fact, someone suggested that I save it and hand it out in October!

Mark Lee of the Ellendale Fire Department might be going along with the Tootsie Roll boycott. He claims the EFD will buy and freeze candy bars and take them out right before the parade. There are two benefits to this: chocolate is good, and you don’t have to throw whole fistfuls at kids, just one each. Mark’s got my vote if he runs for office!

Speaking of parades, I’ll put my two cents in on the whole Confederate flag debacle. Who would ever have thought you’d see Hartland trending online?

Look, Brian Nielsen has admitted that he shouldn’t have flown the flag on the city fire truck. The Confederate flag is a symbol to many people of a dire time in our country’s history and the racial overtones of that time. It’s been around for a long time, but took one nutjob to wave it around before killing people to make everybody hop on the bandwagon to get rid of it.

Brian’s stance that we’re becoming too politically correct is spot on. A person can hardly step outside the lines of what people want to hear without facing someone’s wrath. I didn’t even notice the flag when they went by (scrounging for all those Tootsie Rolls, likely), but the way the media is today, all it took was one outraged person to post it online, and away they went. How many people raging about it have enjoyed watching The Dukes of Hazzard without thinking much about what was on top of the General Lee?

Was it wrong to do? Sure. Did it deserve this amount of attention? No way. If some crazy waves a Green Bay Packers flag prior to killing people, will the team change its name and colors, ignoring its long history? (Now going tongue in cheek, fair warning.) Anyone who flies a Green Bay Packers flag offends me. It represents everything I stand against. Take it down. You live in Minnesota. Oh wait, let’s not even get started on the Minnesota state flag or the names of lakes or…

Before I go, a very happy birthday to my wonderful wife Michelle, the love of my life, who will celebrate before next you read my words!

Word of the Week: This week’s word is accidence, which means the fundamentals of any subject, as in, “The writer’s focus on the accidence of parades sharpened his readers’ perception on the subject.” Impress your friends and confuse your enemies!

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