Sometimes, I feel like the Pied Piper of kids. Children tend to follow me for no reason. One time, at Big Bear Lake, I turned to find 15 little snow urchins trailing me down the slopes. "Get away! Get away!" I shouted, before realizing they were all mine.
Well, most of them anyway.
I love a parade, so I used this odd trait recently with a bunch of Cub Scouts, mouthy kids with a penchant for dressing in military-style outfits, as if that conveys some sort of authority or something. We were unit No. 70 in the Memorial Day parade, but we don’t like lines. So we waited patiently near the beginning for our slot in the parade to come to us, then promptly ran the other way. Almost a week later, I still have no idea why. You’ll have better luck herding cats.
Could’ve been we spooked, the way you see schools of small Caribbean fish quickly change directions. Suddenly, the parade was headed in one direction, and then we were headed in the other. Confusion reigned, and I always did what I do in crises — I stumbled a little. When I regained my balance, I shouted, "Men, follow me!" and most of them did, except for two of the fathers, who I think headed off for leisurely breakfast and maybe a nice round of golf.
But the crisis wasn’t over, for we had to catch up to our spot in the parade — a little sliver of sunlight between a herd of horses and a live band on the back of a truck. "Scouts coming through!" I yelled to some spectators along the curb, and they parted as crowds will when you use the right tone of voice. In no time, we were part of a parade.
Yep, as I said, I love a parade. I’ve viewed them from Miami to L.A. I’ve always thought that the best parades are the ones you happen to be part of, so I’d rate this the greatest parade that was ever held.
There were marching bands and politicians and pretty girls in convertibles with concrete smiles. There were dog rescue organizations and hundreds and hundreds of preschoolers and their parents. I don’t know what business a bunch of preschoolers have in a parade. In our little town, there are more people in the parade than those who actually view it. One year, they considered busing in spectators from other states, but that proved too costly. So we mostly go with what we’ve got.
The parade began with a big rumbling flyover by one of those planes that’s so big it can barely turn. Basically, since it can’t turn, it only can fly around the world in a straight line. This would be cost prohibitive to anything but the American military.
As I said, it is an excellent parade. Our town, as you may have sensed, is populated and run almost exclusively by opinionated, high-maintenance women. If you want a parade done right, you just collect a few of them and turn them loose. That’s what we’ve done, and the parade is almost always a roaring success.
This year Pack 515 took part; that was us. The rock band on the truck in front of us played the same song over and over. Within about 10 minutes, my head had begun to swell to ridiculous proportions. If you’ve seen my head at its normal size, you can just imagine how big that must’ve been. Several people along the route clapped with glee, thinking they were witnessing one of those Macy’s-style Snoopy balloons.
So to counteract the repetition, we began to make our own music, specifically chanting, "FIVE-ONE-FIVE" over and over again as we waltzed down the parade route.
"FIVE-ONE-FIVE! FIVE-ONE-FIVE! FIVE-ONE-FIVE!" You get the idea. For obvious reasons, this was a big hit with the scouts, who, at age 7, have a good appreciation for screaming spectacles. It also gave them something to do in addition to running up my heels with their razor scooters.
Yes, once we got going, everything went well. Like those big planes, Pack 515 works best in straight lines, so you can point us in one direction and just turn us loose, and we will walk clear around the world.
We’ll walk till someone orders us to stop or we pass an interesting looking bar at happy hour. In my mind, all hours are happy hours and all bars are pretty interesting. I think the other dads feel much the same way.
The little cubbies? They’re holding up well. One got his fingers stuck in his mouth. Another ate my car keys. With 7-year-olds, incidents like that are bound to happen.
Follow me, men.
A funny thing happened to me today. Well, it’s funny now!!
My wife is on an overnight business trip to Bakersfield and because she doesn’t like beef, that could mean only one thing…. Steak on the grill. T-Bone to be exact with a baked potato (sour cream and chives please!) and a tomato salad with mozzarella cheese, basil and olive oil. So there I am, standing at the grill, lighter in one hand , steak in the other when the doorbell rings. ARRRRGH!!! I tried to ignore it but it just kept ringing and ringing. So I peer out the front door and who is standing there? My neighbor Charlotte. Trouble! But she has been a neighbor for over 25 years so I approach her. She tells me that her trash bin is in the middle of the sidewalk and she can’t move it any further. I think about my feet but tell myself ‘how heavy can it be?’. I test it’s weight and it had to be close to 300lbs!!! How she got it that far, I don’t know. But I figure that I can wrestle it so I ask her where she wants it and she says ‘In the street so the trashmen can pick it up tomorrow’. Uh oh!! I politely inform her that TODAY was trash pickup day and they won’t be back until next Tuesday. She then asks me if I would put it back where it came from, 200 yards away! LOL!! I ended up putting the thing by her gate and tell her to have her two sons and their teenage sons move it further. I also suggested that next week, she get them to move it to the curb.
I think it must have been full of bowling balls or maybe a body! My feet turned out fine and the steak was Great!!
Have a good rest of the week,
PS: Sorry but no pictures