Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Fourth!!!!

One of the MANY things I love about my family is that everything always turns into a story. Bad things, good things, even mundane things that happen to us somehow turn into a funny story that we can tell and laugh about. Growing up in a family like that is such a blessing . . . and really develops your story-telling abilities!

As Fourth of July approaches, I can't help but think of one story in particular. This story is Palmore family legend and I think it's the perfect way to celebrate Independence Day with you all.

We moved from Garland, Texas to The Woodlands in the summer of 1983. It took a while for The Woodlands to grow on me because I had left all my friends behind and really missed them. Luckily, I was in the third grade and making friends was easy at that age. Don't get me wrong - I still had to prove myself to them and show them that I was cool but I felt like I had made a good impression with my classmates.

Summer 1984 came along and I got my Permullet - things were really looking up for me. And the best thing was that 4th of July was coming up. And that meant that it was PARADE time . . . we LOVED the 4th of July parade! We would get up early, get our chairs in the car, get our buckets for all the candy we were bound to catch, and we'd head out to get a good spot on the parade route. It was always an exciting day. Back then, The Woodlands didn't have its 4th of July parade on the actual 4th unless the 4th fell on a weekend. If the 4th fell during the week, the parade would be on the preceding weekend. Follow me?

In 1984, my family had been in The Woodlands for about a year and we were ready for our first July 4th parade in our new town. That year, the 4th fell on a weekday so the parade was scheduled for the weekend before. We woke up early Saturday morning and piled all of our stuff in the car. Being Nora, my mom decided to bring a chaise lounge lawn chair with us. Do you remember those things? They were the long lawn chairs with the plastic, green and white strips that your butt would always jut through? And you could fold it up by folding the top and bottom up to the middle and then folding down the legs? And you'd use them to lay out in the back yard? Do you remember those? Yeah, my mom brought one of those with her that day for the parade.

We girls got our candy buckets and hopped into the car. We drove out to Woodlands Parkway (that's where the parade was back then) and we parked on the grass on the side of the road. The five of us piled out of the car and unloaded all of our stuff: four chairs, a chaise lounge, three buckets for candy, visors, sports thermoses loaded up with water, sunscreen, and little flags to wave (the Palmore family doesn't wait for someone to pass flags out at a parade . . .). We were decked out in our best July 4th wear - white shorts, red shirts, sunglasses, big blue bows in our hair - things of this nature.

We sat on the side of the road and looked around. No one else was out yet. We congratulated ourselves on beating the rest of The Woodlands out to the parade route. We waited for a while, my sisters and I in prime candy-getting position with buckets ready. We started to comment on how strange it was that the street was still so busy - it seemed like they should have started shutting down the parade route by that point. But no matter . . . we brushed it off and just high-fived each other for getting out there before ANYone else did.

Another 10 minutes passed and we thought it was so strange that more people weren't coming out for the parade. Cars were screaming past us on Woodlands Parkway, the breeze blowing through my Permullet. Something just didn't feel right. We were still feeling pretty proud of ourselves but that feeling was becoming slightly overshadowed by our growing confusion. Eventually, one of our friends drove past and somehow recognized us. He pulled over and hopped out of his truck to ask us what we were doing. We told him that we were waiting for the parade, of course. That's when he informed us that the parade wasn't until the next day. Sunday.


I still remember that moment - looking around panicked, feeling exposed. I began praying that no fourth graders had seen me out there. Surely they wouldn't recognize me! Then I remembered my Permullet and realized that you could spot that thing from a mile away. I silently cursed my beautiful hair, shaking my fist to the heavens.

Oh, man - we must have been such a sight. I mean, we weren't just sitting on the side of the road, people. We were CAMPED OUT and raring to go, we girls waving our flags and my mom lounging back on her chaise lounge. So horrifying. And yet . . . so Palmore.

But at least we got a good story out of it . . .


Emma said...

Who will ever forget that one!!!!:) Nicely narrated, Catch!

Unknown said...

LOL! Brings back the time when I was in 3rd or 4th grade. I went to a friend's house the day AFTER her birthday party. Her parents were so kind and let me stay and play. They even brought out left over cake for me. That's the way I like it anyway right? More intimate settings. Just one on one time with your friend. yeah, still makes me a little sick to my stomach to think about...

Catherine said...

Oh my gosh, Diana, I am CRACKING UP. I just snorted so loud!! That's HILARIOUS!!!

Joley said...

Okay! Diana and Catchy, I am sitting here and I'm overwhelmed with pity!! Those are the saddest stories I've ever heard. I'm actually nauseated at the thought of both of those situations! So sorry gals! So very sorry.