Everyone Loves a Parade
Darren says his first memory of a Blanchard parade was the thanksgiving parade. He said the local business owners would have turkey races down Main Street. According to his memory, they would chase the turkeys down Main with a broom. Now I’m not sure if this is just a fantastical memory of an eight year old boy or pure fact, but as he always says, “I’m telling this story as I remember it.” Fact or fiction, I’m not going to lie, I’m sure glad I don’t have to do this as a business owner. I’m quite certain I would wind up being the one being chased.
As I’ve mentioned before, I love my hometown! Now, I know that there are people out there that have lived in the same town their whole lives, perhaps even the same house. This is not my story. I boast that I have lived in five different states before the age of five. While I don’t remember most of this, the impact it has had is greatly felt. I will say that it had to have broadened my horizons even at this very young age, but most of all, I think it helps me look at my hometown with eyes of appreciation.
Understand, Blanchard is not perfect-no town is. My experience here has not always been fun, but it’s been real. I had a recent conversation with someone I had graduated with. We had not seen each other in a long time even though we have both spent our whole adult lives living here. We caught up, bragging on our families, bragging on our grandchildren, sharing where everyone had wound up, and then he said to me in a very thoughtful tone, “We will never leave our town, will we.” I confessed that there have been times that I wanted to leave, but I have come to love and appreciate the fact that I didn’t. I told him that I’ve come to appreciate that living in my hometown keeps me grounded, real, humble. It makes me think of something I once said to my sister in law, “you know all my crap, and yet you still love me.” This is humbling! So, while I feel like I’m a “hometown girl,” I also realize that my story did not start here, and this gives me a slightly different perspective, maybe even a deeper appreciation.
For as long as I can remember, one of my most favorite views in this sweet little town is the view you get when you turn south onto Main off of 10th. The street has just enough decline that you can clearly see the houses, historic buildings, new buildings, beautiful sycamores, infamous Bradford Pears, Redbuds, and other various trees perfectly line in symmetry to the very end at which a gentle hill rises at the far south. Appropriately, at the very center of this vista is the historic flagpole. Main Street from N 10th to S. 7th is all but two miles, but it’s beautiful, especially in the spring...fall...when there’s a parade...it’s just beautiful! At one time in the not so distant past, at the top of that gentle hill was a cluster of trees that I really only noticed in the fall when the colors would start to show. Now days there is a large building...progress...things always change. I have to remind myself that there’s no standing still in this life- you are either moving forward or backwards. I think I had rather move forward, but I do miss those trees in the fall - I’m thankful I have the memory of them etched in my mind.
Back to parade days...
I’m always humbled and amazed at the people who come to our hometown just to see “the parade.” I love hearing people’s stories and it makes me smile when they respond to my question as to what brought them to our neck of the woods, “We never miss your parades.” Or one of my favorites is, “Blanchard always has the best parades.” A few weeks ago, before we opened Ya Ya’s in our new building, Will and Megan were working in the shop when a couple from out of town wandered in. They were asking lots of questions about our shop, our town, local places to eat... The kids commented how proud they felt when the husband compared Blanchard to the iconic Mayberry. Well, I have to say that this is just as sweet as Aunt B’s peach pie...I’m sorry I just had to do it😂 Will and Meg bought the house that Y&S Construction built on Main Street. She especially loves the location because she has so many sweet memories of two sets of grandparents living here on Main and, “oh, on parade days...” I’m telling you, it’s a thing!
We know that parade days are a big deal, so we really made a push to get everything ready to have a soft opening for Ya Ya’s. It was crazy, but we did it thanks to tons of help! Main Street was packed and green was everywhere! There was live music, people doing Irish Jigs, food trucks...the works. We joined in by handing out free green popcorn. It was so much fun mingling with the crowd seeing old familiar faces and lots of new ones. The Bradford pear trees were in full bloom throwing their floral confetti as if to join in the festivities. The kiddos had there goodie bags in tow, leaning in, crowding the street and looking North, knowing that every participant in the parade throws candy for them to safely gather.
So, when you get a chance, come visit our little neck of the woods and, oh, definitely come see us on parade days! After all, everyone loves a parade!
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