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Gotta love a small town parade!Posted Tuesday, September 8, 2009, at 5:57 AM
The streets of Advance were an unlikely place to find Cap'n Jack Sparrow, dragging the Black Pearl behind him. I never did find out this pirate's real identity!
The little town of Advance springs to life on Labor Day weekend, looking like it used to years ago in more prosperous times. The streets are full of traffic of every variety imaginable, including teams of tiny horses, wagons, riders on horseback, and kids on four-wheelers. Sturdivant Street is once more the main thoroughfare, as people line the street to wait for the Big Parade.
Everything with wheels or legs is rounded up and put into the annual Labor Day Parade - police and fire vehicles, tractors, 4-wheelers, horses, dogs dressed in costumes, and the high school band.
A parade in a small town is a friendly affair, as children scramble for candy, local politicians walk the route, shaking hands, and festive floats file past, populated with folks waving and shouting to friends in the crowd.
Various members of my family usually come to join me in watching the festivities. My sister Kathy came from Springfield. My 3-year-old grandson Evan was big enough this year to join in the candy scramble, with his daddy warning him - "See that line, Evan? Don't go past it!"
Evan was so excited that he jumped up and down and screeched, "MiMi, MiMi! It's coming! It's coming!" as the Chief of Police led the procession with lights flashing.
There's an innocence and simplicity about a small town parade. It celebrates life. Family members living in far distant places return home to their roots on Fair Day. It's Homecoming and acknowledgement that we made it through another year.
As the horses and riders file past, marking the end, folks begin to gather up their lawn chairs and head down to the park, where a traveling carnival has set up rides for the kids, and the stage is ready for the beauty pageants.
My son Matthew and his lovely wife Laura (expecting their second child next month) walked with me to the park, I holding Evan's hand as he jabbered excitedly. They thought the parade was a bit longer than the one they saw the day before in Benton, but they're all about the same. Bell City's will be next weekend, and the others will follow soon.
It's a happy time, as we celebrate the end of summer, the harvest time, and the fellowship of family and friends.
From the friendly hills of suburban Tillman, Mo., this is your very happy rural reporter Madeline, signing off on another glorious summer morning.
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 573-722-5322.
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