Putting a float in the town's parade is an obligation. At least it feels like one. If you fight the urge to deploy a float, you will get questions like, "so, I didn't see a Morrow Kennels Float in the parade, did I?" From past experience, we know that a float, when properly prepared is a joy to both behold and to drive proudly down the street. People cheering and you flinging candy as though you had been paid off by a Dentist.
It's best to plan the float well in advance, gather the material to do the job, and then casually, over a week (the one before the 4th) put it together. There you will see the fruits of your artistic expression merge with physical talents into what surely will be a winner. Something, that if seen by certain people in Pasadena, would put you on the fastrack to a permanent assignment there on New Years Day.
Then reality sets in. On the Saturday morning, the 3rd of July, my wife says "I want to put a float in the parade, for a change". For the last several years she had bought my argument that floats in parades are too stressful and made it so that we can't enjoy the 10 to 20 people who show up in Grandma's yard, to watch the parade. After all, there are things to get ready, tables, chairs, decorations, grills, charcoal, lighter, matches, ball gloves, coolers, ice, plates, silverware, and oh yes, the food.
The tone in her voice told me a float was in our near future. I said, "if you want a float, then we will make a float". I didn't realize until right then, that she had watched the movie "Dumb and Dumber", once to often. She wanted to make the Caravan look like a dog. At about 6 PM she starts. A dryer vent pipe covered with black cloth for a tail. Good. A red piece of construction paper sticking out from under the hood was a tongue. Good. Two large pieces of black cloth hanging out of the doors for ears. Looked more like large sunscreens. Four legs, white, outlined with black, taped to the side. Looked like two pieces of cardboard taped to the side of our van. Then she had a black garbage bag stuffed with trash, and taped to the hood. I said "what's that". She said, well actually screamed "It's a nose, what's it look like". Thinking back, I shouldn't have said "a black garbage bag stuffed with trash, taped to the hood of your van".
If I could have avoided snorting while trying not to laugh, that too would have been wise. I was able to duck the magic markers flying my way but she got me with the nose. I had to help make a nose. Which with my help, I must admit, ended up looking like a piece of black construction paper, bent and taped to the hood of the van.
It was time for me to put my talents to work. "Go make some signs for the van, and be sure to tie it in with the Lewis and Clark theme", she said. I already had an idea, but I was missing one important number. I thought I could get it off of the internet, which I did at about 2:30 am on the 4th of July. The number turned out to be 190.
I got up at 6 AM to put ten pounds of potato salad together, cooked 5 pounds of Sloppy Joes, and cleaned house. Oh yes the signs. I had them ready. She got to town at 10:30 to put everything on.
LEWIS AND CLARK'S MEN ATE 190 DOGS IN 2 YEARS.
WE AT MORROW KENNELS, HAVEN'T EATEN 1 DOG IN 25 YEARS.
Also one that said, IF OTHER KENNELS DON'T EAT DOGS, WHY DON'T THEY SAY SO???
They heard some laughs, and a few young females say "oooh, poor dogs" Others said "I can't believe you actually put that on the float".
I think all in all it was a successful float. If you want to get involved with small town America, come to Grandma's house on the 4th of July, next year, I'll be there watching a parade with my Wife and Grandchildren.