Monthly Archives: November 2014
The afternoon crispness takes on a bit of an edge. A jovial crowd gathers, numbers growing. Vendors set up food trucks. Dogs and leash-attached humans mill about. Children at the pony ride stand on tip-toes and exclaim over the pint-size equines wearing red ribbons and silver bells. Master of Ceremony hypes the early arrivals with a game of Trivia and promises prizes. Mayor speaks. The master switch is flipped.
An array of tiny lights twined among tree branches glows. Red and green and blue and clear. Fairy dust drifts across floats. Children bubble with laughter. Magic crackles in the air.
The annual Lights of the Ozarks and Christmas Parade blooms into our best dreams and hopes and promises. Homegrown. Splendid. Neighbors. Friends. Family. Best of the Best.
The Veterans’ Day Parade around the Fayetteville (AR) Square was a Norman Rockwell painting of small town America. A middle school marching band played, our mayor in a fire truck bucket waved, and veterans from World War II through the Middle East conflicts displayed their colors. Master of ceremonies honored each service branch with its signature anthem. Flags waved in the breeze. A military family – father/husband, mother/wife and two small children– dressed in fatigues walked together. After all, conflict ripples through lives beyond deployment.
I count myself lucky. Out of three family members and four friends serving in Vietnam, two hometown friends deployed to Iraq, and one man currently active, all survive albeit with scars.
Made me proud of my community. Made me tall with shared heritage. Made me cry.