6:00 am, wake up get the stuffing ready and the old bird in the oven! It seems like our family runs well by routine and tradition. Routines don't work out very often, but when you miss a tradition, you'd better be wearing some sort of teflon tough body suit! It's serious business here. As the clock turns to 7:00 am, everyone is pretty much ready with an extra sweater, sunglasses, hats, blankets and folding chairs to head on up to the annual Oktoberfest parade. Once we are on King Street with our chairs and blankets out to save enough spots for at least fourteen people, you make your way over to McDonalds for your breakfast. Yup... it's a tradition! This has been going on for at least twenty years now. We did deviate for a couple of years to head to the Rockton Fair, only to watch the parade on tv, but it wasn't the same.
There are always the same floats and bands. But since the attacks of 9-11, I am deeply moved by the groups of veterans that start off our parade and the new recruits that always are one of the last groups. My heart just swells with gratitude when I see those older men and women as they walk by. I always think of the ones that didn't make it back to ever walk in a parade. It is with honour and respect we stand and clap as they go by and the police officers doing crowd control stand at attention, saluting. This year, as the new recruit groups walked passed, I saw a former student from Grand View School marching. His eyes acknowledged me as I waved frantically at him. The first time I met his family, they were new to Ontario. His mom always called me Auntie Marg - not related by blood, but by a deep friendship. I hope he gets to march in parades for years to come and that God protects him and the other troops when they are out on a mission.
My kids get tired of me repeating the same story each time I see the Preston Scout House Band. Since this is my blog, I can say it again... for them to read even when there isn't a parade! :) When I was a little girl living on Hamilton Street, the Scout House Band would practice marching up Hamilton Street. You could hear the beat of their drum and expertise of those brass instruments. That was my cue! I'd run into the back kitchen and stuff my chubby feet into my rubber white boots - similar to those of the Band members. Of course their boots weren't rubber like mine and they probably didn't pinch their toes. I'd wear my black shorts, white rubber boots and run to the garage to get one of the ducks my brother, Jim, had hunted and stuffed. I'd shove that duck into my armpit and quickly get into step with the official marching band. I have no idea why I had to carry that duck... but I did. I was only allowed to march 3 blocks then I had to come back home. So, today, like every other time I have seen the band, I said to my kids, "When I was a little girl...." After all, that story is now a tradition! :)
When we got home, it was a hustle of veggies, turkey, potatoes, dressing, and gravy. Friends arrived, family came over and we were as stuffed as the turkey itself. After all, it's tradition.