I don’t always cry at weddings. I don’t always cry at funerals. But I always cry at parades. Always. I don’t ever sob but I do experience a few full body chills and one or two escaped tears every time. It’s the way those people put themselves out there for you and for a cause. I don’t care if it’s just the famous Strolling of the Heifers in Brattleboro, VT! Look at the way those cows put themselves out there for you. No, but for real, it’s the pride in the farmers’ faces. It’s the baby calves. It’s the start of summer. Gets me every time. I may even need a tissue right now. I was in one parade once.
It was a 4-H summer fair and parade. I don’t remember my float or my costume or my cause. I do remember smiling until my cheeks ached and throwing candy to (at) little kids. I love throwing candy to (at) little kids.
This weekend’s parade was bigger than that – it was Northampton’s PRIDE Parade. I love that I live in a town with a PRIDE Parade. Sure I lived in San Francisco, but that wasn’t just a PRIDE Parade. That was a PRIDE Spectacle. That was like the Greatest Show on Earth. That required finding a parking garage cheaper than $50 and then standing among 6 gazillion people and just hoping to see even one float. Northampton is different. Northampton is home. We know where to park and where to stand. We see and stand with familiar faces all through the day. Our babies are growing up with PRIDE Parades.
I didn’t grow up with PRIDE Parades. I did, however, grow up with open-minded and supportive parents, a gay uncle, and an occasional crush or two on a girl. I was already doing alright.
I think Scarlet is too.
Last year she experienced her first Noho Pride Parade and Rally. I wrote about it here.
Here are my rainbow girls last year:
I miss them both. I miss Stormy who spent the majority of her life in San Francisco and surrounded by rainbows. I miss my little rainbow baby who is now a rainbow toddler – that dress she’s wearing above is now a very tight shirt.
Luckily Aunt Lindsay brought Scarlet something new this year:
People everywhere were decked out brilliantly. I grew up in a rainbow bedroom so I’ve had a lifelong love of wearing rainbows.
This guy put on an acrobatic show just before the parade started.
Rainbow kids watching the action.
And then, it starts!
This year, I became mesmerized with the rainbow flags. You know in “American Beauty” when Kevin Spacey’s character’s daughter’s boyfriend tells her that a plastic bag floating is the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen? Well, I think rainbow flags blowing against a blue sky are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Or close to it.
I watched a lot of the parade alone in a church doorway, elevated slightly above the crowd. I watched the whole parade through the magnifying lens of my camera. I could see all.
Umm..yeah. A truck full of seven sled dogs, all wearing rainbow peace sign bandanas. I could kiss the owner of that vehicle.
I love making hometown memories she may even remember forever. I’m not even going to preach about the importance of starting these wonderful life lessons young. I know you know.
And then we walked home for a nap, with visions of rainbows and beads dancing in our heads.