Yesterday in our county we had our annual parade along with a week of county fair festivities. For some this fair is an experience that is looked forward to all year. From the pageants, tractor pulls, horse shows, pig judging, pie making, art contests, carnival rides, cotton candy or pork burgers the highlight of the end of the week wraps it all up with a parade. A small one, I might add at that. It doesn’t matter how big the parade is and you really can’t compare it to a parade of any other. It’s not like the Thanksgiving parade you see on TV nor is it like a parade at Disney. What you see is some country folk who love their community. With the United States Flag in hand, Gary Wilson leads the parade on his Tennessee Walker. Following close behind are the volunteer rescue and fire trucks with their sirens screaming. These people have helped us all in crisis. We had one of the local EMTs deliver a baby at home a few weeks ago. Everyone knows everyone in this parade. The beauty contest winners proudly wave their hands to the crowd as they travel in a convertible or in the bed of a pick up truck. Next in line are the floats and might I add we had four this year! Driving slowly with loud exhausts are the old cars and racers who pompously display their prizes. Our cheerleaders, marching band and other county clubs proudly portray the Cougar Spirit as parents jump at the chance to capture a picture of their child. As this almost completes the parade, there is nothing like seeing the decorated golf carts pulling behind them hollowed out plastic barrels forming a train for children to ride in. Oh my, we are country and just a tad redneck I think. We make do to please our children. The parade ends within thirty minutes and several horses leaving a trail of droppings. Did I fail to mention everyone throws out candy? If you are fortunate to be at the starting point of the parade, you will receive lots of candy. You need a large grocery sack to take it home. Sometimes I think people like throwing candy at you just to see how desperate you are to obtain it. Too make it even more dangerous to do so, you must run into traffic to pick it up before the next thing in the parade crushes it. You really can’t wait to pick up the candy at the end especially after the twenty-foot tractor rolls through.
Have I painted the picture for you of this parade in our little community of McLean County? We may be a county close to ten thousand people, however we know how to make people laugh, care and have fun in the little things. Our children experience the serene life of sweet corn fields, school activities, farm life and marriages to their High School Sweethearts. Some go off to college only to return to this small county parade to place their children in one of the little golf cart trains. It is a safe community compared to others. It is a place of home and refuge from the city life. One of the surveys I conducted several years ago, the one thing people liked about our county is how the people come together when a tragedy occurs. Community is about unity. Unity is a very powerful tool to bring smiles on the faces of our people.
I might not live in a huge city nor have a life of fame and fortune but what I do have I would not trade it for the world. God has given us a chance to be in a community where there may not be a lot of activities nor prospects but He has given us the opportunity to love one another with His love. We are not a perfect county and we do have our issues however we proclaim His righteousness even if we are in the middle of a cornfield. Unless God has somewhere else He wants me, right now I will treasure our little parade.
Prayer: Lord I thank you for where I am today. I thank you for allowing me to be a part of a world who knows your love. I pray that our community will continue to prove rewarding to those who live here. Lord, help us to know you in a better way, so that we can bring your love into our lives with even a much more deeper relationship. As we work together and serve you in a greater measure, our community will change for the better even more so. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Genesis 28:3 May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. (NIV)