This is an entry I made in my travel journal awhile back. I tried not to change much of the content when I transposed it today, but I write some inane things sometimes.
Today I took T__ over to Lincoln, AR to watch the parade at the Apple Festival. A__ and I had taken T__ a couple years back, and he really seemed to enjoy seeing the parade, especially the tractors and horses.
I thought we were going to be late and miss the parade; it took T__ forever to get ready. When we finally got out the door, I saw our neighbor mowing her lawn. She mowed 3 times a week so that was normal, but the storm downed pile of branches I’d left on her lawn wasn’t. While I was having T__ help me gather the small branches and dump them in the pile with the larger branches, my neighbor wandered over. She told me that she could grab her backhoe and haul all the branches to the woodpile on her property. It was only the second or third time I’d spoken to her in the 3 years we’ve lived here, so of course I had to assent.
It seemed like eons before she got back with the machinery, though I doubt it was more than a few minutes in reality. T__ and I loaded up the bucket, and he had a huge grin on his face. He’d never gotten to be so close to big machinery and he got to help! T__ wouldn’t head to the car until my neighbor was around the corner of her house with the load. Finally I got him buckled in my car and we were off. Unfortunately, the Razorbacks were “playing” the Crimson Tide today, so the roads were backed up all through town.
By the time we paid $5 to the local band for parking, and walked the two blocks to the downtown square, the fire trucks and police cruisers were just starting down our block of the square. Somehow, perfect timing. We squeezed in between a kind older woman with I assumed her grandson, and a couple of older gentlemen. I would later find out that one of them was the former mayor of Lincoln. His friend seemed to know every person that happened by him in the parade.
The grandson and T__ had a good time together. They danced together when the band came by. They evenly shared the candy they collected from the cars and floats passing. They were at the corner of the street, and would float into the street with eyes locked on candy enough I’d said something a time or two. I wasn’t really worried about his safety on his little corner. Well, until I looked up from the boys into the bearded face staring hard at me. He was head to toe in Rebel Greys on a float sponsored by, “The Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy.” About that time I heard something ding loudly off a lawn chair not far from me. I looked over to see Tristan going to pick up a cracked piece of nasty purple hard candy that came from the float. I snatched it and stuffed it in my fifth pocket so it wouldn’t mix with the other candy T__ had already given me.
I hadn’t really looked around at our surroundings since we’d arrived so close to the start of the parade. Just across the road from us, there was a trailer selling the normal Arkie touristy junk. Atop it was an American flag, a Don’t Tread on Me flag, and Arkansas state flag, a Confederate battle flag, and a Trump flag. I looked around and realized everyone looked a lot like me and no one looked like my mixed race son. I thought that maybe I had seen a Hispanic or Asian in a float, but none of those were in the crowd.
I was thinking of reining T__ in a little, when I saw a face in the crowd that looked very familiar. He stopped a couple feet from me to speak with the ol’ mayor, blocking my view of the parade. I was looking at the campaign button on his half untucked road dirt brown dress shirt that said Womack when the mayor called him “congressman.” I could feel the blood cells start simmering in my veins. This dude was running on Trump’s ballsack, and he looked like a chode. There were so many things to do and say running thru my mischievous melon. By the time he pried himself away from the mayor and walked by me, all I could muster was a dirty look and a head shake when we made eye contact. I’d like to think I would have said something profound to him if I weren’t worried about T__, but I was honestly lucky to get off the dirty look.
The rest of the parade went on smoothly. Old cars, prom candidates in convertibles, and of course horses shitting all over the road at the end.
Part of the attraction of the Apple Festival in Lincoln is the free apple slices. They have an old fashioned slicer on a stage, and the apples are delicious. The line is always long right after the parade, but I figured we might as well get in it. We began down the row of vendor tents that the line went down. There was an item or two featuring the stars and bars in about every booth we passed. I had probably just made myself paranoid, but I felt stares as we walked down the line, and they seemed malignant. My unease got the better of me, and halfway down the row I saw an escape route between two tents. I bribed T__ out of line by getting him some little trinkets from a booth.
I took T__’s hand after leaving the booth and led him the way I thought was the shortest back to the car. It was, but the “Sons and Daughters…” had set up a large booth in the middle. I avoided looking in that direction as I dragged T__ beyond it. Dodging the piles of shit as we crossed the road, we made our way to my car. Tristan kept telling me I was walking way too fast the entire way to the car.