Monday, September 8, 2008

I would walk 500 miles

This was a Very Big Weekend in our parish. We had our annual Homecoming, which consists of a parade and carnival as well as traditional churchy type fundraisers like cakewalks, quilt raffles, and bingo. It's like the loaves and the fishes. We start with what looks like a small parking lot, a gym, and a cafeteria, and lo, the space multiplies to contain many rides, booths, a beer truck, and an entire jungle's worth of houseplants.

It started on Friday night. Jake's class made a Seven Brides for Seven Brothers float for the parade. I put together a lumberjack costume for him. He grew over the summer and we're still wearing summer clothes, so the flannel shirt I dug out of the closet was decidely small. I rolled up the sleeves. I found one lonely purple bandanna in my box of wonders and held my breath while I tied it around my neck, fearing the "but that's a girl color" argument. It never came, thank goodness. Jake found a pair of jeanst that fit around his scrawny waist but ended above his ankles. No problem - I'm sure the younger brothers wore ill-fitting hand-me-downs, right?

Since Jake had been ready since 7pm on Friday evening, we had an easy time of it on Saturday morning. Jake and I headed to the parade drop-off on foot just as Grandma Joyce walked through the door. We walked all the way up to the school, then all the way back down to the park in search of the float. We traveled around 6 blocks to end up 2 blocks from home. I dropped him into a roiling cloud of excited lumberjacks. The girls, dressed as brides, were sitting primly along the edge of the float trying to avoid all contact with the rowdy lumberjacks. After chatting with the teacher for a few minutes, I kissed Jake and ran away before I could be recruited as a wheel walker.

I walked back to the appointed meeting spot along the parade route. No one was there, of course. So I walked the rest of the way home and badgered the family out of the house. We decided to walk a little further to a better spot on the route, then sat down and waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, we saw the parade come by. Claire loved it, mostly because she gathered about four pounds of candy. We walked back toward the end of the route and caught most of the parade again. Then I chased the float back to the park.

I arrived just as the kids were disembarking, luckily. Most of the kids split immediately despite warnings to wait for their parents. I ended up herding a few strays as we headed toward the school. The next two hours were spent in a blur of rides, lunch, music, dancing, and walking around and around. When the kids started getting crabby, we walked back home.

Later in the afternoon, Jake and I walked back over to take our turn working a booth. We spent two hours walking the same 4 foot path. Take the money, wait, fetch a prize. Once again, we managed to pick up some strays. At one point, we had four boys "working" the booth which made it both more fun and more challenging. After our shift, I rewarded Jake with a ride so we walked around a little bit more. Then we walked back home.

By 6pm, I'm pretty sure that I walked close to ten miles. It was a lot of fun, but next year, I might wear roller skates.


Katie Alender said...

What a unique idea for a float! I love that movie.

I'm laughing at the idea of a Homecoming at a church. Summoning the wayward flock home.

Christy said...

Next year, maybe we should serve fatted calf a la the prodigal son.