Saturday, September 27, 2008


     It was Homecoming this week at the friendly local high school, and I have to say that I have never experienced anything quite like it before.  I grew up in a larger city, one with three public high schools and one private.  There was a four year college there and two two year colleges.  Sometimes the four year school got to have a Homecoming parade and Homecoming festivities, and each of the high schools had their festivities, but parades were unheard of for the three high schools.
     So imagine my surprise when I walked around the corner onto my street and found a Homecoming parade in progress.  At 4:15 pm.  On a Friday afternoon.  I got there just in time to see the fire truck go by.  It wasn't red, it was one of those bright lima bean green ones, and it was blowing its horn.  I looked out the window and saw people milling around on the street.  I thought it would be packed, shoulder to shoulder.  But no.  It looked more like a summer shopping weekend with some people sitting on the curb added in for good measure.  But it was still cool.
     After the fire engine came the old fire engine.  You know, one of those ones from the late 30s or early 40s that was basically a pickup truck with some ladders attached to the side.  The kind that could moonlight as a painters truck in a pinch.  And it was doing a good job filling in all the spots where the new fire engine wasn't blowing its horn.  AH-OOO-GAH!  AH-OOO-GAH!  It was neat.  And of course there were all sorts of kids in school colors with lame signs hanging all over every vehicle.  I swear every kid that went to that school was in the parade in some way, shape, or form.  There seemed to be all sorts of floats in the parade, they were basically all snowmobile trailers with cardboard signs taped to them.  
     Next came the marching band.  Now I was in marching band in high school, so I know a thing or two about it.  And I will admit that they sounded pretty good.  And they marched okay.  But I felt really, really bad for them.  It was about eighty degrees and sunny, and they were out there in black wool uniforms.  Ouch.  But they were entertaining.  They were playing pep band tunes, which I thought was a nice change of pace.
     So they went by and then the Homecoming King and Queen went by and that's when I left.  I went and got into my car and tried to escape out the back way out of town, but something strange happened.  I came to the stop sign at the intersection one block off of the main drag.  And going across in front of me was one of those Argo vehicles that can go on land or water or through the swamp.  There were two names hanging from it and two high school kids inside of it.  I assume that they belonged to the names.  Behind them came a John Deere lawn tractor towing a little trailer with a recliner in it.  There was a boy in a football jersey driving the tractor and a girl in a t-shirt reclining in the recliner.  They were also displaying a couple of names.  I knew that these four people were on the Homecoming court.  
     I knew this not so much because I am a creepy guy who hangs around the high school, but because there is a little bit of a peculiar tradition in this town.  On Sunday, the four classes of the friendly local high school rolled out onto the main street of town and began decorating the windows of each and every building.  And on one of these windows they wrote the names of everyone in the Homecoming court.  Desperately wanting to be cool, I took the time to memorize all the names so I could throw them around like I was in that clique.  I made all that up.  But I did have to walk by that particular window every day for a week.  So I got to know the names.  And that's who was going by on the various yard care implements.
     Unfortunately, things did not end up well.  The friendly local high school lost 48-13 in the Homecoming game to the unfriendly high school from 120 miles away.  But that's okay.  Because it was still a fun homecoming week.  Or at least I assume it was.  I don't know.  I am not the creepy guy hanging around the high school, remember?

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