Watching the Oakfield Labor Daze parade today, I realized that I can identify the stages of my life up to this point by my memories of the annual festivities. I remember being the little girl afraid of the firemen who walked by in masks - being told not to run to the middle of the road for the "far away" pieces of candy.
I used to be the girl who was checking out which boys got cuter over the summer, trying to work up the nerve to go talk to them before school started.
I marched in the Oakfield Marching Band lead by Mr. John Mikulski, my favorite teacher of all time. He used to crack jokes to keep our spirits up as we marched down Main Street. Our town will forever miss the joy he brought us.
I also worked the stands selling salt potatoes for the our senior class, hanging out with the soon-to-be graduates while we chatted about where our lives were going to take us.
Now, I'm watching it all from a distance, taking it all in as the memories come back to me.
It was an eventful parade this morning. The usual tractors, clowns, candy and firetrucks were there. Bands played their jazzy tunes and marched down the street. Strange bikes and vehicles were driven.
Animals were part of the fun, too. There were dogs and two horses in the parade. I'm sure that no one who saw it will forget the graphic display of urination by the mini horse right in front of the post office - let's just say it was another memory for those of us who were there and leave it at that...
Pie sales were in full swing when I visited the United Methodist Church. Reverend Larry Eastlack was all smiles this morning, but admitted he wasn't the expert on pies.
"It's about how we share together. The fellowship of baking the pies and how we share them with the community is the best part..." said a woman from the church who declined to give her name.
"For a lot of people, the pies bring memories. How their grandmothers used to bake pies, which flavor they bought last year or making elderberry pies when they were younger..." she went on to say.
I'd have to agree. Every event at Labor Daze brings memories for me, whether it be ostrich burgers, deep fried Oreos, or even taking a turn in the bounce house. I'm certain that everyone who attends Labor Daze goes through the same memory lane experience each year. It's things like this event that make a small town a great place to live.