We Got Our Parade Faces On

So.

The rodeo came to town over the weekend, which means that everyone in Small Town, USA hauled out their cowboy hats from last year, so that we could pretend that YES and INDEED!  We know how to dress for a cowboy gathering, mm-hmm.

And honestly?  I have missed my calling, because I am nearly positive that I would have made one heck of a rodeo queen.  I told Hubs that I’m going to start practicing for next year.  You know, learning to ride a horse and figuring out how to get my cowgirl hat to stay put on a head of hair that has nine pounds of aerosol hairspray in it.  I’ve already got the wave down (elbow-elbow-wrist-wrist), so half of the battle is already accomplished.  Look for me carrying your American flag next year on horseback, people.  I’ll be the one with the glittery shirt and the belt buckle that’s roughly the size of my garbage dumpster lid outside.

I’ll probably also be the one sitting on my caboose in the middle of the street during the rodeo parade, because if anyone can fall off a horse, it would be me.

(But parking a horse?)

(Piece of the cake, people!  You just march that old boy up to the hitching post, jump off without twisting your ankle, and tie his bad self’s reigns up.  Done.  And no one will come along behind you and say, “Wow.  You’re only two feet away from the curb this time, so we give that a Parking Victory cheer!”)

No matter.

On Friday morning, we went to the parade in the city, with the 62,000 people who were at the carnival.  We lined the street, where we sat on the curb or in folding chairs, or slouched haphazardly against a building in the shade.  Parade goers will line up most anywhere, as long as they have a good view, access to a cup of beer, and are able to jump into the street when the floats start throwing the candy.

Hubs’ computer business entered a float this year, and I now know where the boy gets his I CAN DO IT AT THE LAST MINUTE life philosophy.

(Because the book report?  That he wrote in thirty minutes the night before it was due?  Even though he had three weeks [twenty-one ENTIRE DAYS!!] to write it?  Yeah.  I wanted to crawl beneath my deck and beat my head in the dirt on that one.  I would have written it much sooner, but then the boy managed to nail an A on the dadgum thing, so whatever.)

And Hubs and the rest of the work gang?  Well, they started putting the float together at 6:00 the night before the parade.  And they stopped for pizza.  And cold drinks.  And Hubs had to take a break to drive across town to borrow a generator from Sister’s Husband.  And somewhere around 2:00 in the morning, they called it good and said, “Yes.  We are ready to roll with this thing when the parade begins at 10:00.”

The boy and Cousin L were plum-dadgum-excited to ride Hubs’ float during the parade.  They loaded themselves up with sunscreen and squirt guns, because what’s a parade if you can’t shoot water at the crowd as you roll by at parade-speed?

Even though we bribed Cousin K and begged and pleaded with him to join the floaters, he turned us jack-smack down, because HOW DO YOU GET THE CANDY THAT IS THROWN FROM FLOATS, IF YOU ARE RIDING ON A FLOAT?  Well.  There is that.  Cousin K was dead set on parking his hiney on the curb, so he could chase down Dum-Dum suckers and rock hard Tootsie Rolls.

And then the balloon sword that a clown handed to him was the icing on the cake.  You won’t get one of those if you’re on a float.  No, sir.

Little H sat in her stroller and waved to everyone in the parade.

And by waved to everyone, I mean that little girl waved her arm back and forth for almost two hours, happily greeting every float and marching band and clown who went by.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say she is trying to train for the job of Rodeo Queen, as she practices her wave.

The boy was quite vocal about being in the corral.  He emphatically announced, “I’m NOT a nerd!”

Someday, Son, all of Daddy’s share of the business will be yours, and the pocket protector will be handed over.

And Hubs?  Well, he had to walk in the parade, too, but his enthusiasm didn’t match that of the kids.  I think Hubs was more inclined to sit in an air-conditioned building with a Coke in front of him, because Small Town in July can get a little heated up outside.

A bunch of us all sat together at the parade, and we whistled at Hubs when he went by.  He is, hands down, the cutest computer nerd I’ve ever met.

Thing 2 actually slept during half of the parade.  We can’t get that baby to sleep at night in a quiet, climate-controlled bedroom, but put him in front of a marching band in the sweltering heat, and he’ll crash, stone-cold OUT.  And when he wakes up, he’ll beg Sister to give him a bottle, and then he’ll want to eat his hat.

Cousins A and R were also in the parade, and they got to wear sparkly tiaras.  Sadly, they did not offer me a spot in this parade entry, nor did they offer me a faux-diamond-encrusted bit of head decor.  I could have rocked a tiara like no one else.

And then our friend, Teegan, went by on a float, and he was armed with the world’s biggest squirt gun.  I’m pretty sure that it had the firepower of a hose on a firetruck.  That little runt saw us, and he took aim.  And the result?  He soaked us down, good and proper, and Thing 2 was DRENCHED.  Sister’s hair suffered the worst of the direct hit, as she yelled out, “I WAS HAVING A GOOD HAIR DAY BEFORE THIS, TEEGAN!!!”  Teegan was very unconcerned about good hair days, and he threw back his head and laughed like any ten-year-old boy would do when he gains the gold medal in the I SOAKED ‘EM GOOD event.

Oh, Teegan.  The paybacks are always so dreadful!

Sister and I are already plotting and planning to put ice cubes down his back, which will be a very successful payback, because Teegan ALWAYS tucks his shirt in!

(Don’t tell him.)

(Surprise is our best weapon.)

(That and the ice cubes.)

Thing 2 and Little H spent some time sitting together in their strollers.  Little H pretty much turned her head and looked the other way, as Thing 2 leaned forward and hollered at her.  Thing 2 doesn’t like to be ignored.

And then we all got a good laugh, because a gentleman beside us said, “Those babies are adorable.  Are they twins?”  We told him that they weren’t, but that they were cousins.  And he said, “Well, you can sure see the family resemblance; those babies look so identical, I don’t know how you tell them apart.”

Because those identical babies?  Yes.  They’re both adopted, from different parts of the state.  They don’t share a single piece of genetic make-up.  They’re simply bonded together as cousins by the grace of God, who brought them to us.

And Sister and I are being extremely careful not to get them mixed up.  You know, what with one being blue-eyed, and one being brown-eyed, and one having a gorgeous, lifelong suntan, and one having beautiful, milky-white skin, and one being built like a solid brick, and one being long and skinny, and one having ten toes, and the other having eleven toes.

Dear Sister, do you think we should put ID bracelets on them, so we can tell which baby is which?!

And that, people, was the parade.

The rest of our weekend was spent hanging out with friends and family.  Hubs’ sister was in town for the weekend, and we had an enormous family dinner in Small Mountain Town.  Hubs’ mama did steaks and ribs, and the cousins played Capture the Flag.

And my camera?  Well, it was in the Suburban, some fifty feet away from the picnic table.  And I never even pulled it out.

Hubs had to check to see if I was feverish.

The Capture the Flag game was unevenly matched, as all the big boys joined a team pitted against the little girls, and they somehow rationalized it as FAIR, FAIR, FAIR.  So Brother joined the girls’ team, and then the cheating became so thick, you couldn’t help but throw your head back and whoop with the giggles.

We were never sure who won, and we only had one arm ripped open by a thorn bush.

We had our friends, Shad and Shelly, over for dinner, too, and we grilled more steaks.  They were in town from California, and we were happy to see them.  Plus, Shelly informed us that their little coastal town is a constant 70 degrees all year.

I am moving, people.

I didn’t need to hear about their housing market, or their employment rates.  I didn’t need to know anything about what kinds of schools they had, or if they even had a Starbucks.  Shelly had me at SEVENTY DEGREES.  ALL.  YEAR.  LONG.

So yes.  The weekend was good, people.  So good.

And now I’m off to crawl into bed and try to convince Thing 2 that SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT IS A GOOD THING, BABY LOVE!

Y’all have a good Monday night.  Welcome back to the workweek.  Which means that it’s still summer vacation for us, and neither the boy nor I showered today before 10  AM.

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