Ray and I went to the Veteran's Day parade this morning...
Last night, we went to a Chinese buffet. Lee was working late, and I figured I could get some writing done at the mall while Ray played at the playground, so I offered up mall plus supper at anywhere Ray wanted to go. (I was expecting McDonalds, which I would otherwise boycott, but she decided she'd wait until she was going out somewhere with Dad. My angel.) While we were there, we sat next to a family with a girl named "Katie" and a mom named "Betsy" (my two sisters' names), and with Ray leading the conversation, I found out about the parade. Katie announced that if we were going to the parade, we had to stand outside of Starbucks, because they have coffee. Katie's in seventh grade.
So, when Ray woke up just before eight thirty this morning, and I remembered about the parade, we rushed off downtown and made it just in time. We walked up the street toward the headwaters, stopping, incidentally, about half a block away from the judges (and cannon), in front of Starbucks.
Cannon...a family next to us (Mom, Dad, Grandma, little girl with a big red bow, no hat or gloves, and a miniature folding lawn chair) whipped out their earplugs. "They're going to fire it! Here comes the marshall! Put your ear plugs in! Hurry!" But it wasn't that loud, and resonated in the lungs more than the eardrums, due to the fact that it wasn't facing us directly and had to echo off the windows across the street before it hit us. Those windows shook.
The guys in the front on horses managed to control the horses when the cannon went off, but it was close. We saw all kinds of vets, representatives from the different divisions in town (AF, Army), ROTC and JROTC groups, high school marching bands, and more Girl/Boy scouts than you can shake a stick at. Many old cars, including one with an aaaaoooooogaaaaaah horn. Someone gave us a flag; we lost it; someone else gave us another one.
Eventually, we went into the Starbucks for hot chocolate. Ray's nose was an icicle, so we grabbed a table at the window (why there was nobody else there, I'll never know) and watch another fifteen minutes or so. After deciding we were ready to brave the cold again, we went outside, changed our minds, and followed the parade route back to the car. Brrrrrrr.....
One of the last floats we saw before we left was the MDA float, a trailer with a curve of the earth and a few space-thingies floating over top. "That's where I work," I said. "Oooohhhhh..." Ray said. She walked down the street and told the next few people she saw that her mom worked at that place (point).
I forgot. There was a bagpipe marching band. Kilts. Nice.