Past go the dancers, walking in time to the beat, looking tired and defeated. The marching band is behind them, only the drummers making any music. They all look sad. No one is smiling in the band, and no one is clapping from the audience. Then approaches a float and the people on the sides of the streets go wild as goodies and trinkets rain down upon them. “Moon pies!” “Over here! Throw some over here!” The kids all run to pick up fallen colored beads and cracked candies. This - a traditional Mardi Gras kid-friendly parade - is what I watched live yesterday. And it really opened my mind to how greedy and first-world minded a lot of people can be. The dancers and musicians with skill aren’t appreciated. All the audience is there for are the floats. And they don’t care how well people can throw, as long as THEY get to the prizes first, and THEY are the ones going home with everything they wanted.
My family waited for a while to head home, since the streets were crowded with cars and horse trailers. When we finally were able to get out and go faster than five miles per hour, we noticed the dump trucks and street sweepers that now lined the road the parade went down just a little while before. The road was covered with trash. Broken beads, plastic bags, lollipop sticks, cracked chairs, and old pairs of shoes. It looked like a dump.
I’m not saying I’m innocent. I wanted a moon pie, and we have oodles of beads hanging around our house. But what I wanted to see most was the dancers dancing. What I wanted to hear most was the band playing songs. To me, that’s what a parade is all about. And no one looked happy to be in the parade. Hardly anyone was smiling. The attitude I got from them was, “I can’t wait for this to be done.”
It was fun to be there and delve into the experience and traditions, but I think I like our Holland Tulip Time parades better.