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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Small Town - Just Like Me!

 I live in a small town. My parents lived in the same small town. Now my children live in the same small town and they are small town, just like me (apologies to John Mellencamp!) One thing I love about small towns is their traditions. The tradition of the Pet N Pup Parade in my small town has been around for more years than I can track down. I remember attending the parade when I was young and I think I remember my mother telling me she remembered the parade, too. The premise is simple - dress up your pup or pet (and yourself) and march in the parade down Main Street. 
 
Attendance was down a few years ago. The parade had always been held in the Spring and Spring in Ohio can mean very cold weather, wind and rain. Not much fun for children and pets. Someone had a bright idea - let's move the parade to Autumn and  - since it is closer to Halloween - maybe people will be more willing to find costumes for the pets and kids! It worked! Participation is at an all time high! The parade is the kick off for the day long activities - The New Autumn Leaves Festival! 
How cute are the bride, bridesmaid and tiny groom? 
It's Alice in Wonderland, a Cowgirl and a family of Bees all in one photo!  It was a lovely sunny fall day to show off the kids and the pets!

Last Year's King and Queen of the Parade. Each year, since time began, one boy and one girl are selected as the Pet N Pup King and Queen. they wear the large crowns and velvet cloaks and ride in convertibles in all area parades. It is quite an honor! AND both win a bicycle. I can remember drooling over the Schwinn, showcased in a store window when I was a kid.  Still First Prize - one girl's bike and one boy's bike!
 Do you see the Lego blocks on the far side of the street? That is a friend's daughter and her little Lego children. The red Lego won the boy's bicycle!
Dog and Daughter in Hula Skirts. Don't you love all the dads and moms in the parade? It is a real family affair!
You can't have an event without a controversy! The original winner of the boy's bicycle was the adorable Charlie Brown walking beside his sister pulling the adorable Woodstock in the wagon. But when "Charlie" got on stage - he was a she! And Princess Leia had already won the girl's bike! Next year entrants will have to be color coded pink and blue!
This entry (you can barely see past the newspaper's photographer) was my favorite. Hopefully you can spot the little police office leading his convict pony!  Yes, the ponies were the end of the parade (I think we all know why!). It is such a fun event and I am so glad that I was able to introduce all four of my grandchildren to the parade for the first time.

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Easter Tablescape

Easter Tablescape

My favorite pastel dish collection! The egg plate was my grandmothers. The tablecloth is just a flannel backed picnic cloth from Big Lots with a lace tablecloth from Dollar General on top.

Easter 2010

It is so much easier to get ready for a holiday meal now that my five children are grown. Trying to dress all five and myself for church, get the house clean (especially to Gramma standards), the food ready, heading to church, rushing home to finish the meal details, keep the baskets hidden in a tiny house; holidays were never the picture book perfection that I had hoped and planned for.

Now I have plenty of time to start preparations a day early. I wake up to work on the final details. Have time to dress and comb my own hair - AND I can set the dining room table days in advance. Then I can add more ornaments every day!

The kids seem to have better memories than I do, thank goodness! My youngest is 25 and they still gather before the big day for the Easter egg decorating with their dad. Decorations and sayings are added in crayon before plunging into the hot water and vinegar bath with the good old food coloring. Eggs still carry the same heartfelt messages - "Boys Stink" "Marissa is ugly" "I am the Favorite".

I still hide the baskets (this year - bags), hopefully outside. This year Easter was a warm and sunny morning and the bags were hidden in trees and bushes. To entice the teenagers into continuing the Easter hunt, I had been hiding cold hard cash in the plastic eggs. Now that they are in their twenties, chocolate works just as well!

We had three extra guests at the last minute, so we set up more card tables and made room for all! Two were children which always makes a meal more fun. A day of new memories.