I finally got a touch of the flu this past weekend. Although it wasn’t full blown code green, I didn’t feel extremely motivated to do anything more than lay on the couch and scoop around the internet to find something interesting. I stumbled across some movie footage from the late 1960s and early 70s of the centennial parades in Casey, Menlo, Earlham and Stuart.
Anytime you find old movie footage shot by an amateur, you take your chances with quality but these short clips were surprisingly clear and well shot. I sat mesmerized for the better part of thirty minutes as the parade entries went by. There were plenty of antique cars which I suppose for only being thirty or forty years old were still readily available and easy to find. There was plenty of farm equipment, from old steam engines pulling threshing machines, to hay loaders, tractors and even a “new” fertilizer spreader.
The floats continued to amaze me, not only because of their sheer numbers but because the construction was excellent. There were a few being pulled by vehicles, and a number of self-propelled floats, but every one of them was constructed with exceptional materials and the pride people took in building them truly showed. Even those made with chicken wire and tissue paper were done with care and truly works of art. I wondered as I watched what others were made of.
What was most notable, aside from seeing the Shriners who never seem to age, was the amount of horse drawn vehicles in each parade. From wagons to buggies it seemed like a fourth of each parade was made up of some kind of entry pulled by a team. It is, I suppose, responsible to the same circumstances as the antique cars as production agriculture in those days still were not that far away from the use of horses, and many a piece of farm equipment was still being used from the early days before family farms became so large and spread out that the necessity for larger equipment did away with many of the old relics.
I wondered, as I was watching, what would our towns bicentennial parades look like? If you think about it we really aren’t that far away. Our sesquicentennials are upon us in just a year and it won’t be long before they are simply a milestone on our way to two hundred years. Unfortunately for most of us, we won’t be around to see that parade, but what do you suppose will make up the entries? You can probably guess for certain that the Shriners will still be around zipping around in whatever oversized man toys they have, but what else will remain? Will cars that don’t drive themselves be such a novelty that they will be included in? What will the farm equipment look like? Will the floats still be made of chicken wire and tissue paper?
It would be interesting to jump forward to be there for those parades as I’m sure the old timers will be honored and some will stand by the side of the street reminiscing about the people and places long consigned to the history books, but I do know for sure that there will probably be a few young people holding a bag full of candy they picked up knowing that for the rest of their lives they can say they were there for the big parade. See you next week, remember….we’re all in this together.