The Parade

Sunday, February 21, 2016

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Sometimes, as we careen through life, we happen upon those times I like to refer to as “golden moments,” those times when you see things so clearly that you know you are witnessing a piece of history in your own life. For me, it’s a momentary wake-up call, a chance to reflect, and savor what is actually happening. Most often, it occurs as a time when we realize mortality – our own and that of those around us. This 50-Year celebration here at this little RV park, in the middle of nowhere, is one that has given a lot of us contemplative pause. It also provokes that deep breath which holds back the flood of emotions. We see, on a yearly basis, this passing of time. It is present in the faces of those we have grown to know. We age. Our friends age. We suffer the health consequences that time and a life well lived, saddle us with. We don’t get younger and healthier. Hopefully, we simply get older and wiser.

There is no question that this spot in the desert, in the middle of nowhere, is a sacred space for many (if not all) of the folks who call it home for a brief snippet of time. It’s a small community. Folks know each other; they look out for and take care of those around them. A case in point being an early Sunday morning, shortly after we arrived, when I hopped in the Jeep and drove off. My neighbors hadn’t seen the mountain of laundry I had packed into the car, and thought something had happened to one of us. Her husband was the first to greet me as I arrived back at the Hag. He said, “We were worried. We thought you had finally run away and taken the Jeep!” I assured him that while it was an excellent idea, I had only gone to the laundry to wash a exorbitant amount of clothes. We live in close proximity of each other. We take an interest in what is happening around us. After the curiosity of daily “entertainment” subsides, it becomes an understanding of what makes up each of us. It’s a connection to a greater part of the whole.

And so, as it is every year, the FOY Parade was the day after the Craft Fair. The first year we were here, the parade had a LOT of entrants and was a BIG DEAL. The next two years it was a pretty sad state of affairs, with only a couple of entrants. With the 50th Celebration, every club and activity was ENCOURAGED to produce a float. For the Craft Room ladies, this caused a LOT of hurried preparation. Actually, there was a lot of float building activity all around the park. And, by “float” I mean, something that represents the group. There were walkers with signs, flatbed trailers decked out with structures, and ATV’s, golf carts, cars, and motorcycles.

 

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The ATV Club’s float.  They also rock-hound, hence the gold miners on the float.

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The Bocce Ball float

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I loved this Bocce lady peeking out from the back of the float!

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The Square Dance Club danced their way through the parade

 

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The “Tuesday Night Talent” float, better known as TNT.  Our own “Vanna” sang the float through the parade.  I’m thinking the guy who’s “been here since the beginning” was the parade organizer.  He stood at the end of the parade and personally thanked and shook the hand of EVERY person who participated.

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What parade is complete without the presence of the Border Patrol?

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The Fire Department also came.

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A motorcycle entrant

The Craft Room did have a float, and I walked with the Craft Room ladies carrying a quilt and teddy bear, neither of which I had a part in making. As a point of interest, the Craft Room has a group of women who get together several times a week and make quilts and crocheted teddy bears that they donate to the Pediatric Wards at the El Centro and Brawley hospitals. In fact, there are a lot of different things going on here in the park that the proceeds of which are funneled back into the local community, in the form of scholarships to students at Calipatria High School and Christmas baskets to families in Bombay Beach.

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The Craft Room Ladies in their funny hats.  This was the staging area before the parade began.

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Another great Craft Room hat.

Back to the matter at hand, which would be the parade. The parade itself wound its way through two loops of the park. We “craft room ladies” walked behind our float waving and smiling, teddy bears and quilts in hand.

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Here comes the Craft Room entry!

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The walkers…..I’m at the tail end of the group.

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The Teddy Bears

It was a joyful time. The parade folk were happy, the parade watchers were happy, and the event organizers were relieved. We ended in the “Town Square,” which is the main parking lot by the office, mailroom, store, and the actual Fountain of Youth, etc. This large gravel area was turned into a “Market Place” with booths offering everything from throw the beanbag into the toilet, (a non-functioning toilet, I might add) jewelry, cinnamon rolls, books from a local author, and the infamous hot dogs. Again, so much fun in the middle of nowhere.

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A very fashionable poodle enjoying the activities.

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I’ve got a tight grip on this fabulous hot dog.

AND, as if this were not enough activity for one day, it was also the day of the Bombay Beach American Legion’s annual Fish Fry. This was a good day for me as such food related events quickly turn things into “cooks day off.” This was a blessed relief as this particular Daisie was a little tired from all the week’s activities.

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Fried fish and fries at the Fish Fry

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Dad, enjoying his lunch.

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