We want to claim our spot
on the parade route
before the excitement
explodes like fireworks.
as the low-flying jets zoom overhead.
as friends, neighbors and local celebrities
pass by, and all this
before the parade even begins.
I laugh to hear my friend mutter
“only in Ashland”
as the parade flows by with
grass-skirted hula dancers, followed by
kilt-wearing bag pipers, followed by
the Jewish temple Klezmer band, followed by
Jesus carrying his large wooden cross.
The young ones
are wide-eyed for
unicycles and stilt-walkers,
ever-alert to leap
for incoming candy.
We admire classic old cars and wild art cars,
we cheer young gymnasts
back-flipping their way down Main Street,
we clap along with the enthusiastic,
tie-dye clad Ashland Middle School band.
After the parade,
we gather as a community in Lithia Park
to hear the entire
Declaration of Independence,
why we celebrate this day.