My husband Frank, the proverbial king of everything corny, loves taking a good factory tour (or even a bad one), watching cheesy musicals and falling for flagrant tourist traps. There aren't too many old-fashioned traditions he won't abide by. It's my job to resist, roll my eyes and suggest hipper, more with-it alternatives. On occasion, he wins — and sometimes, I'm glad he does. Such is the case with Memorial Day parade.
When I was a kid, I marched in my hometown's slightly anemic parade, which stretched for a mile-and-a-half from the 18th-century graveyard to the municipal building. Parents — though not mine — lined sidewalks, wielding miniature American flags and cameras, while I rolled my eyes and complained about my sore feet. By 13, I thought it was unsophisticated and banal. My husband grew up in the same town, but playing trombone in our high school's huge marching band meant his parade memories were star-spangled uniforms and full of cheer. Why Are Women Attracted To Men In Uniform?
After marrying and living elsewhere, Frank and I bought a house back in our hometown, and five years later walked the three blocks to the parade route with a newborn. A few years after that, we strolled downtown with our preschooler and his younger brother. The entire outing took only an hour or so, including post-parade pizza or ice cream. Maybe we'd see a familiar face — a high school friend marching with the kindergarten T-ball team or a neighbor with the rescue squad volunteers. Frank hoisted each of our boys on his shoulders, waved a flag and insisted we stay until the end. But the closed roads, choked parking and glad-handing local politicos, allowed me to dismiss the entire thing as a lot of hooey. How To Plan A Tantrum-Free Family Vacation
Sometimes the boys slept through the sirens or covered their ears, but eventually they grew to love the fire engines and antique cars — even the glad-handing politicos tossing Tootsie Rolls from parade floats. When each of them entered first grade and signed up for Boy Scouts, I took my place on the sidewalk while they marched with Frank, naturally, the scout leader. Bringing Home The Troops: 7 Reasons To Date A Military Man