We had a great time at today's parade. We took our chairs to our friends' home yesterday and they held down the fort at 6:00 a.m. this morning so that we were on the curb but still in front of their house with access to indoor plumbing (sweet, right?). It was a lot of fun to sit and watch the very, young children enjoy things that have become so "old and mundane" to us adults. And it was a great opportunity to be entertained in a (sort of) free way - can you say tax dollars - with friends, in beautiful weather.

I am more lighthearted at this parade than the Memorial Day Parade we attend every year, but I think that there are still some basic "rules of etiquette" for folks to consider when attending this family friendly outing.

1. Once the parade begins, keep your child out of the street. There is no need to cause trauma to be associated with this holiday or parades in general because you think it's cute for your child to be several feet from the curb while the parade is going on. 

2. The parade should be full of entries, but when you have half dressed women performing Samba dancing (which I have nothing against) for...an....Independence...Day...celebration, I'm confused. And then frustrated that the men in my life are exposed to half clothed women, voluptuous women. Come on, it's on television and almost everywhere else they look - can we take two hours off?!?

3. A subpoint to number two but strong enough to stand on its own... Can gymnasts, cheerleaders, the dance team, the pom pom squad not perform their routines in more modest outfits? Why is it "cute" when a 4 year old is exposed with super short shorts up her backside but "sexy" when it's a grown woman? How about we just not? Some clothing regulations could help our girls shift their focus from what they look like to how hard they've worked and the talent/performance they are sharing.

4. Once you are done walking in the center of the road and being the center of attention for however many miles you walked, marched and paraded to the end, you should walk BEHIND the onlookers who are still enjoying the "acts" they have not yet seen. I understand you're heading back to your own family or to your car, but really?!?. 

5. Make sure you have enough candy for the ENTIRE route. Teach a class, do a mini-training, tell people how much to have and when they ought to throw it. Sitting at or near the end ought not be punishment for the kiddos we bring to the parade - they are just as cute as the ones you saw at the beginning.

6. People doing new and exciting things are fun for a parade. Just watching you roll down the road in your convertible, not so much. I do like Mustang Convertibles by the way, but a float or something pulled behind would be better. Let me just state here that I do not understand why news reporters/weathermen are considered parade worthy.

7. I like the 4th of July, but I do think it's kind of weird that we celebrate our rebellion and hard headedness with so much fanfare. A little more humility America. We can celebrate other great things about our nation, can't we? I guess I'm just saying, if we're going to bring so many people together in beautiful weather with such intense focus for two hours, shouldn't we be a bit more purposeful in what we share, what we show about our great nation and teach our kids?

8. Clean up after yourselves. They throw candy, you allow your child to eat the candy and throw the wrapper on the ground just because it's Independence Day? Come on folks, we're a community - let's do our part. And also this principle can be used at your place of work, in your home and just in general. Once it's a habit, you may find you actually enjoy it.

9. Even if you don't like the governor and how he operates, your children are watching - show some respect.

10. When the American Flag passes you by - please, stand up. Not a perfect nation with a "clean" history (no country can say this) but you are afforded some liberties that many around the world would be grateful to experience, even for one day. Do us all a favor, be thankful for it, it comes at a price.

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