"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."
George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Family Parade Float: Finale

So here we are. It's the final post of our family parade float saga. We've been on quite a journey haven't we? In my first post about the parade, I tried to explain why this particular parade happening in this particular town is so funny. Here's exhibit B, the sign greeting you to Mentor: 

It says "Last one out of town, please turn off light." Again, I can't make this stuff up. And I intentionally left the church entrance sign in the background because its fine, church-going population is one of the really wonderful things about Mentor. When I looked back at this I said to Brian "Of course there's a church sign in the background...". 
So, it's parade day and it's cold and windy and it's set to rain at 4pm, the exact time of the start of the parade (it started raining at 3:59 on the dot). We show up to Granny's at noon to put the finishing touches on the float. 

Aunt Cherry's copy of the Welcome Sign!
The lovely sign on the back of the float!

Our sleigh and Route 8 sign (Granny lives on Route 8, which runs through Mentor). 

And then we stuffed another 1000 napkins or so to finish it off. We had to get all the reindeer and our elves ready to go and I painted their noses and faces. Granny got some white face paint and "hoof prints" on her face--she did get run over by a reindeer after all. So, here is the finished float with the elves and deer in place!

This is from when we were going down Rt. 8 to the staging area. I'd like to point out that Kylie is holding on to Ken's elf hat for support. It was too funny. 
And here is the float with it's show-stopping actress--Granny! I thought the biggest challenge for her would be the weather and the rain. But no. She told me the most difficult thing was not laughing since she was trying so hard to look dead. Way to participate Granny!

Aunt Kate said Uncle John was mourning Granny in this photo. I think he's actually celebrating?
The rest of us were dressed in black and sat on the sides of the truck bed singing "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" at the top of our lungs over, and over, and over again. Usually to nobody in particular, but sometimes to a parade watcher!

I know it looks like mom has duct tape in her hair, but I assure you we all had custom-made mourning veils bobby pinned to our heads. :)
I would automatically think, from looking at this photo, that Brian is mourning the loss of Granny. Mom said he is checking the marriage contract to see if there's a way out of our crazy family. Hmph!
So at last the parade began, and we left our staging area to turn onto Main Street (the only side street in Mentor). 

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that, if you look to the left in the photo (and click to make it larger if need be), you will see that Main Street dead ends IN THE OHIO RIVER. 
This is the view going up Main Street (and our boom box playing the song balanced on the roof of the truck)
The main objective in this parade is to get to the church, Mentor Baptist, which is the white building in the top right of the photo above. (They have now moved on to a bigger and better building, but this one will always be Mentor Baptist to me!) 
Almost there! Look at the crowd!!
There are about 150 people who live in Mentor. Maybe 30 of them were involved in the parade. Which left a handful to watch from the church steps and cheer us on. 

On the way back through Granny sat up to wave to her fans. 
So now is the moment you've all been waiting for? Which float won the parade!?!? Well, obviously it wasn't us or I would have been gloating in the title! We came in a respectable second. And what did we win for our efforts? $10!!! Yes!!! Here's a crummy picture of the winners. If I had realized we wouldn't have swept the competition I would have taken better photos of them!

Sunnyside Daycare from Toy Story 3. 
If you're like us and haven't seen Toy Story 3, you would have spent the staging part of the parade whispering about how you'd never send your kids to that daycare because they were just walking around the float while it was moving and not safe at all! Yep. We sure did. And then we found out what it really was and talked about how we hadn't even heard there was a daycare in Mentor! *sigh* oh family...

The "wedding chapel" addition to the back of the church.
So after the parade everyone gathered at the church and there was a big beautiful Christmas Tree, Santa gave out candy to the kids and took photos, a big pot of bean soup and cookies was there for everyone to eat and a fire pit blazed out in the yard. We mingled for a bit, and then everyone got quiet. And then it was time for what was one of the most memorable parts of the day for me: a lovely prayer was said before the winners of the parade and Christmas lights contest were announced. 

I may joke all day about small towns, but you cannot beat the people that come from them. It just makes me feel warm knowing that every single person there was okay with that prayer--expected it even. I think wonderful, unique families come from small towns. And they generally make it out with great values and morals and a respect and generosity towards the rest of humanity. 

So, we didn't win. But what more do you need to fuel your hunger for a win next year than being the runner up? And as some of us have discussed previously, even if we didn't win, we've had so much fun on this project we'd do it again in a heartbeat. It gave us a chance to get together for planning and building half a dozen times, in different combinations of family members, and it wasn't a holiday! My family genuinely enjoys being together, and I cannot wait to see what we put Granny through next year on our FIRST PLACE float. 

Thanks for reading everyone! I hope you've enjoyed the story. :) 


  1. Megan, Great writing! Cried during last three paragraphs. Thank you!

  2. That comment was from me - Aunt Kate!

  3. Small towns are the best! You can't beat the feeling of being in a place where everyone knows who you are :)...usually!

  4. You're welcome Aunt Kate! I'm glad you liked it. And Val, you're exactly right! And in the case of Mentor, a lot of people watched me grow up but I have no idea who they are! lol. It's like you always feel welcome even when you personally don't know everyone.

  5. I truly have enjoyed reading these. I laughed and laughed and laughed. I love these people Megan so I know I would love you and Brian. Thanks for sharing such good memories.


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