A blazing July sun radiating through my bright cherry red sunglasses. The Oklahoma wind breeze ruffling my hair, cooling the slight sizzle on my skin. The lingering expectation of that savory ice cream in my very near future… All the memories of childhood. I was 5…I recall so vividly the feelings, excitement and anticipation. Boisterous band music blared, candy flying and red white and blue painted cheerful on lookers a patriotic picture that was frame worthy.
Every year, it became an annual tradition. The small hometown 4th of July parade. I have been many places, yet I have found no match for the humble booths of homemade food worthy of a blue ribbon in the county fair. The first sip of crisp, fresh lemonade and the smiling familiar faces of people who are truly glad to see you.
There are many floats for a modest town. Largely due to the fact that everyone is there. Everyone particpates. Everyone tries, everyone cares…everyone is involved. Several floats are magnificent. Grandly decorated to really push the ‘ahhhh’ factor. Others are simple and charming. Kids ride bikes, bikers rev their motorcycles, veterans proudly walk, cheerleaders dance. There is no limit and no prejudice to participation. We all gather to celebrate the freedom and joy we experience every day. Me, being a farmers daughter simply rode the tractor, adorned with a festive bow. But the wonderful thing is, I rode it with my dad. If onlookers stick around long enough, a small venture to the park for a free fireworks show is provided. No words can describe lounging on a blanket, absorbing the illuminations of tediously prepared firecrackers bursting into vibrant sparkles then shattering into a thousand pieces. I even love the echoing ‘BOOM’ foreshadowing the ‘Ohhh!’ and “Wow!”s murmured through the crowd.
I have been able to pass this beautiful, meaningful tradition on to my own children…I can see the excitement in their eyes as parade day comes closer. It’s so much more than a small town parade, where folks show their finest patriotic spirit. It’s a priceless memory I can share with my family…a tradition of celebrating the promise of freedom.
I left home when I graduated high school.
The magic thing about home is that it feels good to leave, but SO much better to come back.
The Marlow, OK 4th of July parade event is open to the public for free. Mostly locals come, bringing their patriotic spirit but everyone is welcome. The more the merrier. Food is available, music is provided via the parade. Kids come with empty sacks and leave stuff with candy thrown from passerbys. Being a small town, you would think the parade would be short lived. But it’s not, it last hours. Lawn chairs are lined up and down main street, and their isn’t an open parking spot for blocks.On lookers browse the mom and pop stores open along the main drag. Friendly is an understatement around there. If the crowd sticks around, a free fireworks show is provided at the park down the road. Not just small entertainment, it’s big time firecrackers.