My sweetie came from a small Utah town about 15 miles up the road from my small town. His mom and sister and her family still live there. We like to visit, but holidays there are the best! My favorite is the 4th of July. You know movies like "The Sandlot" where the 4th is a picture perfect summer day and the neighbors all sit around and they eat fried chicken and play baseball and have fireworks in the park? That is exactly how this little town works.
They start with a Children’s Parade where all the kids tie crepe paper and red-white-and-blue flags to their bikes and ride right down the middle of State Street. They can throw candy but the audience is amazingly supportive even if they don’t. After the Children’s Parade is over, the main parade starts. It is one of the best parades I have ever attended! They throw t-shirts, water bottles, popsicles, and various other goodies and candies at the crowd. The fire truck sprays down those who are overheated, and the black powder club shoots their rifles. It’s one of those old-fashioned, can’t-possibly-miss-it parades.
Sadly, it seems that we have always had someone active in Marching Band so we were unable to head to Grandma’s for a good old fashioned 4th. A couple of years ago, our local high school stopped marching in the July parades so we could finally head south for the festivities! The kids were so excited! They all wanted to be in the parade, so we packed the bikes and power wheels into the van. We even managed to squeeze in the ride-on power scooters for Princess and Prima Donna. At Grandma's house we spent all morning taping and tying crepe paper, stringing garlands and flags. My sweetie bought pink cowboy hats for the girls and red and blue ones for the boys. The Dog Walker proudly wore his scout outfit, sash and all.
We loaded all the bikes and scooters and stuff into the van and headed for the parade’s beginning. The kids were anxious, nervous, thrilled…most of them had never been in parades like this before. My sweetie pulled the scooters out of the back of the van. Princess climbed on hers and zoomed carefully to the front of the line. Prima Donna tried to do the same. But I don’t know if she got nervous or scared or she was just not paying attention. Her scooter whizzed right by me. I saw her hit the hand break. It seemed slow motion as she flew head first over the handlebars.
I handed the baby to Teach and ran to help her up from the fine gravel that broke her fall. Blood streamed down her chin and onto her white t-shirt. Somebody handed me some napkins and I pressed them tightly against the cut. She was screaming and crying as I led her toward the van. I peeked under the edge of the napkins. It was clearly going to need medical attention. Here we were in small-town Utah on the 4th of July. Would the hospital even be open?
I helped her into the van and climbed into the passenger’s seat. My sweetie appeared at the window. "What do you want me to do?" he asked. I glanced at Prima Donna’s tear-streaked face. "I’m taking her to the hospital," I said. "Just put the other kids in the parade. Hopefully we won’t miss everything." We headed the short distance to the emergency room of the tiny hospital. There were exactly two people working that day. The nurse was also the receptionist. The doctor was young…he couldn’t have been more than thirty, but I can’t complain about his work. He stitched her chin up quick and had us back on the road.
We took the back streets to the end of the parade. Prima Donna was so anxious to be part of the festivities (or maybe it was to eat Aunt Jenni’s ice cream, I’m not sure which). But we made it just in time to see the last five entries of the main parade. I didn’t get a t-shirt or a water bottle, but at least we didn’t miss everything…we were the first in line for red blood, a white t-shirt, and blue stitches.