Higgins: I love a parade … notWritten by Tim Higgins | | firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the weekend of the Mission Family Festival, an extended weekend carnival found here in Kansas that’s staged just a block away from the place I call my haven from an increasingly misguided and often rather silly world. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing really wrong with the city deciding to use a few pleasant days in spring to celebrate. Of course this weekend, while warm, promises the potential of rain and thunderstorms on Saturday and rain on Sunday; but sitting on metal rides in such conditions to me only adds to the bargain of a $20 unlimited ride wristband.
Who am I after all, to deny the city its opportunity to have a few harmless carnival rides seemingly right beside the poor refuge of my deck … until of course they turn the damn things on. There is nothing after all, that inspires calm and peace of mind that one seeks after slaving away in the salt mines all week like the rattling of rides that have long since had their day, and the screaming of young teenagers whose only real fear is that their friends will see their parents waving at them smilingly from the crowd below (when it probably should be over the safety inspections performed by poorly trained state workers).
Lest one accuse me of denying the kiddies of a few hours of harmless excitement, let me point out for those not already enticed to attend by the titillation of rides long ago rejected by “Worlds of Boredom,” there is in addition an equally exciting exhibit of special vehicles featuring (oh, be still my heart): A John Deere tractor, a DUI trailer (?), a D.A.R.E. car, a fire department ladder truck, a Kansas City Power and Light bucket truck, and a battle tank. (Oh, just give me half an hour in that battle tank and I’ll show kids and parents alike some adrenaline-filled hysteria that they’ll remember as long as they live.) There will also be a few food tents operated by local businesses, with the largest purveyor of tasty treats being provided by the local grocery store.
And if these were not enough to make you abandon whatever village or glen bereft of such an entertainment triumph that you happen to reside in and make the pilgrimage to my humble community; perhaps the Saturday night concert, featuring a live performance by Funky Mama (undoubtedly some exceptionally loud and misguided tribute to Mother’s Day) should certainly do the trick.
But lest you think that these constitute the bulk of the festivities for this weekend’s gala, let me beg to differ. As the title of this effort takes great pains to point out (pun intended), there’s a parade. What kind of merrymaking would there be during an election year if we weren’t to allow locally elected officials to sit in the back seats of open convertibles, the beds of even more open pickup trucks (this is Kansas after all), or completely open hay wagons; while practicing their best insincere smiles and hand-waving.
Of course it won’t all be that glamorous, some of those participating in this pompous procession of local gentry stretching for some six to eight blocks will be local “movers and shakers,” members of fraternal organizations, and (cringe) members of local marching groups. Note that I said “groups” and not “bands.” After all, even cranky bastards like me enjoy a marching band as much as the next guy. These however, are instead groups of young people who will be performing what are purportedly carefully choreographed routines to pre-recorded noises perceived in some circles to approximate melodic interpretation. The only thing that can be guaranteed by these efforts however, is that what they may lack in tonal quality, you can be assured that they will more than make up for in decibel levels.
The kids will be oh so cute, marching in their matching outfits, twirling and tossing batons and occasionally clapping or stamping their feet to provide extra emphasis (though it’s unlikely such efforts will be heard in the cacophonous noise). The parents will be so proud of little Johnny or Jenny (as they should be), even if the routines don’t always come off as planned. And the children themselves will be a bit tired, though happy and proud as they approach the end of their efforts and pass RIGHT UNDER MY BALCONY. Oh yes, make no mistake on this one my friends. I will have a front row box seat (in the balcony, no less) to every bit of the parade, since it ends a mere 30 yards from my patio.
Spring only comes once a year (if at all) and the Mission Family Festival is only one weekend a year (something for which I must remember to thank the Mission City Council properly); so I must take great “pains” to enjoy it while I can. While the event may present some petty annoyances that must of needs be dealt with, it does at least provide a ready excuse to self-medicate this weekend with a bit of 12 year-old C2 H6 O. But while this may produce something akin to a bright side to the situation and a generally warm feeling to my fellow man, I must still in the end come to the conclusion that I Love a Parade … Not.