Thursday, July 26, 2007

The rodeo's in town! Yeehaw!

I love Stampede time. There are cowboys and horses everywhere (decorations and the real thing). The locals who really get into it are wearing everything from plaid shirts and cowboy hats to dangling earrings of buckin' broncos. And, most importantly, there is beef on a bun just about everywhere. Ahhh...Stampede Days!

Today was Parade Day (which happens to be an item on my summer list), and I haven't been to a parade since I was fifteen as it was held at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World, Florida. So, I knew it wasn't go to be as elaborate, but I've been looking forward to this community event.

Sometimes you just gotta bite the bullet and ride local transit

I am sans automobile currently.
I used to ride the bus all the time in my old city and as I stepped onto the bus in my new town I immediately re-entered what I had completely forgotten about: bus culture.

Riding the bus is the best place to observe people. There's the cranky old lady who keeps clutching her purse and staring at the college guy who's Ipod is loud enough for everyone to hear the lyrics to Lily Allen's song "Smile". There's the two young girls who are embarrassed at the idea of taking public transit (probably forced to by parents who refused to drive them) yet excited at the prospect of going to the mall to, inevitably, meet with their friends. There's the mother with her newborn who gives the tight lipped smile as everyone tries to peek their head into the stroller. And then there's friendly guy. The guy who doesn't know what it means when the person he's sitting next to completely turns their back to him and stares out the window and starts humming the melody of Lily Allen's tune "Smile". Gotta love it.

So, the girls and I take the bus...

Sometimes you just gotta pay attention
The bus driver was making happy comments about the Stampede and this morning's parade.

"Everyone's going to get an early seat, I see?" Kathy, the bus driver, observed out loud. (Kathy and Anne met officially after Anne asked her name and then asked her, politely, if she could quickly finish her granola bar even though there is a rarely enforced sign that says "No eating". I nearly drop over in a dead faint as Anne did this of her own volition, I never prompted her. Sign of a good day ahead.)
Kathy was a keen observer. As was I. Everyone got on the bus with lawn chairs. A foreboding feeling came to me. In my excitement to get to the parade early so that we could get a good seat, I had forgotten that part of that idea was fact, have a seat. This did not bode well.

Sometimes you just gotta suck it up and steal another person's seat
I decided to go without a stroller today. Brie loves to walk and she's a 20 month old that loves to hold my hand. Of course, I had prepared myself that she'd be a little more curious (obviously, since she wasn't strapped into a chair on wheels), but one is never quite prepared for the going-ons inside a toddler's mind.

We found two rows of chairs pristinely set up in front of the bank. Obviously for bank employees. My thought: just stick my two little kids in one chair until employees start coming out and then I'll take 'em out of the seats.

Pointless. Toddler wonder is out and about.

Seats start filling up...or rather I should say, people with lawn chairs start showing up and plunking down. To distract my girls, we play eye spy.

"I spy a lady with an umbrella on her chair."
"I spy a woman wearing lime green shorts"
"I spy the line to get into Tim Horton's is now a block long."
"I spy a lady next to us who isn't in need of her lawn chair."

We ask. She gives it to us. It's all dandy. Until Anne and Brie play the "up and down" game. You know, the game where you go on the chair then off the chair and then on the chair and then off again, taking great pains to climb up into the chair only to, moments later, slide down the chair. This does not bode well.

Sometimes you just gotta recognize that not every person thinks your kids are cute...and they want their chair back.

The lady wasn't obvious about it, but I could tell that she didn't think the up and down/on and off game was fun. Especially when it consisted of the girls almost knocking into her and making shrieking sounds of happiness while she tried to talk on her cell phone.
I return the chair to the stranger. Thank her for her patience and then silently in my mind wish that I was home so that I could assume the position of mother's with toddlers everywhere: my head buried under the pillows in complete and utter embarrassment.
They are kids. They are having fun...but it's just so different when you're in public and the lady on the cell phone's body language is screaming, "why did these people sit next to me?"
I need to lighten up. And there's only one thing that can do that...

Sometimes you just gotta be the person wearing the ridiculous balloon hat
The parade is in full force now. My daughter's are elated with the horses, awed by the Rodeo Queen in her sequnced shirt, clapping with the marching band, and laughing at the clowns. It's all very exciting.
There's also some buskers or balloon artists who come around. And while he's talking to the crowd about the wonders of life he creates a rocking horse out of two balloons for Anne. She is excited, she is thrilled...she is annoyed by how it feels on her head and gives it to me to wear.
"You should wear it Mom."
And I do. Partly because I have no where to put it, and well...who doesn't love a balloon hat?
At one point, I have people in the parade shouting to me, "I love your hat!"
I love it, too. I think the lady who borrowed us the chair and then wanted it back was impressed too. Although, people wearing sunglasses sometimes are a hard read.

Sometimes you just gotta realize that right now will one day be the 'good ol' days' you tell your grandkids about
I loved the parade. Not just for the hat, although that alone...anyways, I loved the parade. It was great to watch my kids wave and clap and ooh and ahh at all the wonders of summer living in Stampede country. Brie was so excited by the miniature horses that all throughout the day she said,"po-knees" (ponies). Anne kept referring back to all the neat things she witnessed while pretending to march like the bagpipe regiment band.
These are the moments I love about summer--childlike wonder being captured at ordinary moments.

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