Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Parade

" In your Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it

You'll be the grandest fella in the Easter Parade

I'll be all in clover and when they look us over

We'll be the proudest couple in the Easter Parade"

                                         Irving Berlin

When I was a little cowgirl my Grandparents lived in the very

small town of Port Chicago, California.  

Port Chicago was a typical small town, the kind they write 

about in movies and stories.One wide main street, three

 churches, a railroad and families. Lots of families. 

One of the biggest celebrations for our family was the annual

 Easter Parade down the middle of Main Street. 

The town put on this parade way before I was born, but the 

first one I remember was in 1961 when I was 5 years old. 

I rode on the float with the Congregational Church.

My Dad, though, he rode his big bay mare and carried the

 American Flag with other members of the 

Martinez Horsemen's Association.

 I can still remember how the four men looked, dressed in 

crisp white shirts, with Kelly green ties carrying the 

colors. The horses pranced all the way down the street. I 

wanted to be with them, not on the boring float!

The next year I was allowed to ride my little 

black Shetland pony. Mom made me a red and white 

flowered western shirt with pearl snap buttons. I polished up 

my black cowboy boots and cleaned my little old saddle to a 

high shine. 

As  the parade started, I sat on my pony at the top of the 

street, looking toward the crowds waiting near the center of

 town. I don't think I had ever been so excited in my whole 

short life. 

The sirens on the police cars whined to life, the band picked

 up a walking beat on the drum and the whole shebang 

began to move slowly toward the judging stand that had 

been put up especially for this day, right in front of Leo 

Reese's store. Most of the crowd was there, waiting for the

 Bands to play, the twirlers to twirl their batons and the 

Church Chorus

 to sing.

I concentrated hard on making my pony, Candy, 

walk sedately down the street. I knew my Dad and his friends

 were behind me on their big horses.I could hear their flags 

snapping in the morning breeze.  I caught a glimpse of 

myself in the large plate windows of the Market, a small 

blonde girl on a prancing black pony. 

I reached the edges of the crowd, and waved to my friends

 standing along the curb in front of the Post Office. It felt 

so good! I was so proud of my shiny pony and the red pom

 pom balls my Mom had made bouncing from her bridle.

I remember smiling. 

Candy tossed her head up and down and I thought it made

 her look like Tony the Wonder Horse.

When we reached the judges stand, the speaker crackled to 

life. They were announcing my name, but I didn't hear it.

 Candy had never, ever heard a loudspeaker before. 

She reared straight up and walked on her back legs. I heard 

my Mom scream from the back of the crowd. 

I leaned forward and kept smiling. 

I waved harder- just like Roy Rogers. 

Candy finally touched down, still prancing down the 


I kept waving. 

At the end of the Main street, the rest of the parade was 

swirling around, finished with their part, looking 

for friends and family. 

I didn't see my Mom rushing breathlessly toward me. I was 

on Cloud 9! 

I pulled my pony around and set off across town for my 

Grandmothers house. It was only a few blocks away. 

The tiny clip clop of Candy's feet on the cement street was 

music to my ears. 

When my Mom finally caught up to me, she had a small 

vase shaped loving cup gripped tightly in her fist. 

It was my prize for participating. I couldn't have been prouder

 than I was at that moment.

I still have that little cup, tucked away in the box of treasures

 from my childhood. 

The little red pom poms are probably there too. 


Denisarita said...

Love it!

Shirley said...

Awww what a great memory!

C-ingspots said...

Oh man, I can just picture it all! One of those treasures you can re-live over and over, and, which little girl all dressed in your Easter finery are you???