Ms. Norma Rockwell meets the 4th of July parade

Little girl on float

 And now…on to the 4th of July parade! 

Here we are in Small Town America.  I mean Small Town America.  Tiny town America.  Blink-and-you-miss-it Small Town U.S.A. 

We all know Norman Rockwell, don’t we?  The artist who painted portraits of cute.  Portraits that tugged our heart-strings.  Portraits that attempted to capture classic Americana.  Click here to view some images if you’re not familiar. 

Look at that hair!

I felt like Norma Rockwell today.  I suppose all small town photographers of 4th of July Parades feel like a Rockwell spouse or cousin-twice-removed.  

There is so much cute going on that you don’t know where to point the camera. 

A clown named Ta Haa

 Let’s back up and set the scene a little more.  Temperature:  90 degrees (32.2 celcius).  So humid that one’s curly hair turns frizzy and wild.  You walk along the street and you’re covered with sweat in six seconds flat. 

“Oh Kathy!” an acquaintance called as I passed.  (I was following my newspaper husband who was covering the parade for our weekly paper. Pretending to be a mime.  His camera clicked; my camera parroted.)  “You have SHORT hair!” 

I self-consciously smiled and said hello, thinking “Oh dear.  The hair is probably sticking straight up in the humidity and wind.  It probably looks like Godzilla the Rockwell.  How does one politely handle this?” 

“Thank you!” I called, playing it safe. 

She shook her head again. 

“Short hair,” she said.  “I have never seen you with short hair!” 

(OK, here’s the scoop about the short hair.  Shorter hair than usual anyway.  I went in to the beautician a week ago and pointed at the frizzy curly hair and said with humorous irritation, “Please.  Fix.  This.  You can see the problem, can’t you?”  The beautician chopped cheerfully.  Thus:  shorter than usual hair.) 

I can’t believe we’re discussing hair length instead of the parade.  That’s what you get when you start free-associating in a blog. 

And her pink clown shoes.

 Let’s talk Clowns.  See the clown lady above?  And her pink shoes?  She and her partner in Funny are going to Clown School later this summer.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?  

Don’t you admire her intention to add a new skill to her life?  For six seconds, after snapping her picture, I wanted to go to clown school as well.  Norma Rockwell, the clown. 

Kilt Guy

 One of my friends (we shall not name who) and I stood and admired the men in kilts.  “There is something about a man in a  kilt,” she said.  She dreamily looked at the Scottish Highlander Band.  “If they only had long hair,” she added.  I nodded enthusiastically.  Yep.  Something about those bagpipes, too.  Very haunting.  The music stirs your soul.  

Lumberjack Day Queen and last year's queen

 OK!  Forget we just talked about men in kilts.  Back to setting the scene.  Remember that hot humid weather?  Remember how we were sweating? 

When suddenly–here comes the drizzle!  Here comes the rain!  Ohmygoodness, it’s raining like crazy!  Barry, my friend and I all sought to hide our cameras.  To protect the precious darlings. 

The rain felt so delicious.  So delicious. 

Steam rose from our hot bodies.  We felt like dancing in the streets!  We felt like becoming part of the parade!  We felt…blessedly…cool.  Soaked, yes.  But blessedly cool. 

Last night's cotton candy ice cream cone

 Before Ms. Norma parts for the evening, here it is.  Last night’s cotton candy baby-sized ice cream cone.  Some of you talked me into driving 17 miles into town to purchase the custard cone.  Thank you kindly.  If they had any other custard flavor than cotton candy, it would have been nirvana.  

OK, readers!  Hope you all had a lovely 4th of July.  Hope none of you were lonely or sad.  Hope all of you bloggers had lots of readers.  If not, don’t worry.  They will all come back in the next couple of days.  

Until tomorrow, your pal, Norma

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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32 Responses to Ms. Norma Rockwell meets the 4th of July parade

  1. Hi Norma!

    Great pictures! Especially the cone! My sundae had hot fudge,whipped cream and nuts…shush…keep quiet so Laurie doesn’t know LOL

    I hope the weather is good for the Crystal Lake Parade
    Tomorrow.

    Have a great evening..
    Kim

  2. Carol says:

    Love the photos, especially of the faces, although the cone look extremely appealing.

    You talk about small town – based on your photos, yours is a much more sophisticated town than ours. I’m about to post my picture from our parade, so you will be able to see what I mean.

    Oh – last night I wrote a sentence wrong, and it led to a misunderstanding – I meant to thank you for staying in to post instead of going out and having fun – not that I was reading the post instead of having fun.

    • Kathy says:

      Will look forward to seeing your parade, Carol. I love the face photos, too. Have about 4-5 more that maybe I’ll post tomorrow. Did I misunderstand something you said last night? Oh dear. Isn’t it a miracle that we humans can understand each other half the time? We should consider it a blessing every time we utter a sentence and somebody understands!

  3. Robin says:

    I am coveting those pink shoes. I know I shouldn’t. But I am. I have some that are vaguely similar but not nearly as cotton candy pink and shiny.

    Once I got past the pink shoes, I was mesmerized by the men in kilts. And men in kilts with long hair playing bagpipes. Makes me want to hop a plane and go back to Scotland where I’ve always felt at home whenever we visited.

    You did great, Norma Rockwell. I think you covered the 4th of July in an Americana way very well. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      I think your shoes inspired me to ask her, “Please may I take a picture of your pink shoes?” So thrilled to hear you were present every step of the way, dear Robin.

  4. Karma says:

    What a fun post! You say your town is small, but it looks like they put on a parade with big style! Our town is “famous” for peaches – in August we have the Peach Festival, and the Peach Queen and the Peach parade. Unfortunately I’m usually away on vacation when it happens, so I don’t get to see it! I’m actually wondering if it will happen this year as our big family farm in town that used to supply the peaches has sadly closed down.

    • Kathy says:

      Karma, our town is so small…heck I don’t know how small it is. Let me google it. Oh heck it’s hard to figure out. I think 1,285 in the village. We have two of these towns near us and this one is the smaller one but the only one that has the 4th of July parade. A peach parade sounds lovely. I love peaches. So much.

  5. Susan D. says:

    Singing “I Love a Parade” – love, LOVE the pictures. There is something so inexpressibly wonderful about small town Americana! Thank you, Norma.

    And, of course, I howled about the hair comments …

    Another “thank you” for helping to make this one of the best 4th of July weekends I’ve had in years. Feeling like we shared so much of the same experiences … at different times, yet in some of the same places. Life is so weird and wonderful, as are we 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      You would howl during the hair commentary, Ms. D! shame on you! Those of us with curly hair can’t help our wildness… I am delighted to have vicariously shared our 4th of July together. Life is weird and wonderful. (Sometimes more of one than the other…)

  6. pearlz says:

    Thanks for sharing 4th of July on your blog, awesome almost like visiting and walking into it all in small town America (:

  7. P.j. grath says:

    Now I’m feeling left out! You and Gerry both had great little parades, while in Leelanau County only Leland and Glen Arbor do parades on the 4th. We in Northport do have our dog parade in August, however, and a sweet and very tiny Homecoming parade in the fall. Anyway, I was happy to see yours and Gerry’s, so I didn’t miss out completely. Thanks, kathy! You got some wonderful images yesterday!

    • Kathy says:

      Pamela, I am sorry Northport didn’t have a parade! Say, do you and Sarah participate in the dog parade? I’ll bet you guys have fun…. 🙂

  8. Oh what fun to enjoy a parade right from the comfort of your front pocket — no stress, no strain — just great visibility! “Look at that hair” and “Little girl on float” were my favorite photographs. for me, they captured the essence of the general atmosphere of the day.

    Oh, and I wish we’d gotten to SEE your new short hair.

    (Kim, I heard your comment up there) ….

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie, I am going to have to sew a permanent pocket on my shirt, LOL! You are with me all the time! Glad you liked the photos. The short hair is OK–still getting used to it–chop, chop, chop. I should have been watching closer instead of having a grand glorious time talking while my beautician friend chopped!

  9. Jennifer Lynn says:

    Kathy, You always capture the essence of a event. Those pipes, those pipes have primed me for next week’s trip to the Celt Countries;)

  10. Jennifer Lynn says:

    an event

  11. Cindy Lou says:

    Jennifer…leave it to a teacher to go back and correct a small grammatical error!?!? Tee-hee!

    I decided not to go to the parade this year – first one I’ve missed in many years. Miss Kenzie and Jen weren’t here and that would’ve been half the fun. We did make it to the fireworks last night which were fabulous! Outstanding finale which had us all joining in the cheering and horn-honking…..there is something very special about small town America on the 4th of July!

    • Kathy says:

      I was wondering if you were at the parade, Cindy. We only walked half way up the road…had all our pictures before we reached your old house. We heard the fireworks but didn’t head out in the rain to see them. Sounded like the rain stopped just before the boomers went off!

  12. Tammy McLeod says:

    You have certainly captured the spirit of the day! Great photos. I also have to agree about the men in kilts. As the story goes in our house, my husband’s pickup line to me was, “yo baby, I play the bagpipes.” Long story but a bit true.

    • Kathy says:

      Yo baby, I play the bagpipes! (OK, I’m going to wait for the proper moment to use that line. LOL! Sure you don’t want to tell the story?)

  13. Barbara says:

    There IS something dreamy about a man in a kilt… Wish I could have heard the MacGregor Highlanders perform… Maybe you could start some sort of audio blog??? What a lovely collection of brightly colored photos!

    • Kathy says:

      Glad to hear that my friend and I are not the only ones who like men in kilts. That audio blog idea sounds good. In theory. Why don’t you give it a try and let me know how it works? LOL!

  14. barb says:

    Except for the Lumberjack Queens and the cotton candy ice cream, our 4ths were the same! Now, back to real life…

    • Kathy says:

      Barb, were we leading twin lives yesterday? You were Norma Rockwell, too? Delighted to hear that! And yes, it’s a bit of an adjustment returning to “real” life…

  15. Gerry says:

    Alas and alack (of broadband), after two days of trying the last photo that loaded was the pink shoes. However, they pretty much make up for not being able to see Kilt Guy. Pretty much. Happy Fourth!

    • Kathy says:

      Gerry, as long as you saw the pink shoes you probably saw the most Important Things. (Although the men in kilts were pretty impressive. Maybe I should email you a pic?) My mom an dad have just lost their high-speed internet. It’s been a sad couple of weeks for them. We were just commiserating on the phone this afternoon…

  16. Dawn says:

    LOVED all the children’s faces…and especially the pink shoes!!

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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