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2017-09-07

My Bias

By Bev Barr BCC Editor

I enjoyed the Labor Day Parade very much. It was great to see new businesses represented in the parade: Operation Overwatch, Warrior Heart, Samantha’s of Bandera and The Hill Country Outdoor Store. I enjoyed waving to friends and acquaintances and being waved to. I came away thinking waving is an underrated activity. It makes one feel better and I made the decision to do more of it.
Although I saw children at the parade who didn’t engage in the candy-tossing-retrieving tradition, the kids standing next to me stayed busy eating and stockpiling candy. They also spent a good deal of time staring at a pile of horse manure that fell in the street early in the parade. Initially, the siblings worried that someone in the parade was going to step in it, but their watchful eyes and body language pointed out the thing to avoid with as much intensity as a neon arrow. Even the marching band adjusted its step — and not one person stepped in that wet pile of manure during the parade.
One of the best images of the day is analogous to “the wave,” as experienced in football and baseball stadiums across the country. The kids — one after another along Main Street as far as I could see — rushed forward to pet the back of an expertly trained service dog, one of several dogs in the parade trained by Brice Cavanaugh of Operation Overwatch.
When a traditional float decorated with green tissue paper rolled past, everyone — kids and adults alike — tried to figure out what it was, but none of us had read the words on the side of the float. I looked at the image on my camera and read, “Poteet Strawberry Festival.” One little boy’s reaction was priceless. “Don’t let me near it,” he said. “There’ll be nothing left. That’s my favorite fruit!” And our new ad hoc community devolved into an energetic and lively discussion of favorite fruits, almost as good as strawberries.
We enjoyed seeing a fellow on horseback with a popgun. I had forgotten all about playing with popguns until I saw him, and the rider had all the right gun-fighting moves scaled down to fit within the width of Main Street. No small feat.
We loved seeing all of the people on horseback, too: The ones who were part of formal groups like the Junior Rangers and Historic Rides, and especially the ones who looked like they showed up as themselves — real working cowboys, men and women.
It was a parade of contrasts to be sure. The parade was led by a golf cart leading a small herd of longhorn, while later in the parade, women road in saddles on the backs of massive longhorn cattle. Young cheerleaders rode on a flatbed trailer and chanted cheers, while veterans of a few wars ago walked and carried flags. The band KATTL performed with amplifiers from a flatbed trailer, while bagpipe musicians and drummers played while marching — on foot.
And there were some great vehicles in the parade — from the zingy wrap on a Fiat for The River 106.1 radio station to classic cars, to the beautiful Flying L bus, and the monstrous, rugged emergency vehicles of area volunteer fire departments.
One interesting vehicle parked alongside Main Street during the parade was a 1937 Chevy that belonged to man from Odessa. He said that he comes to Bandera most years on Labor Day weekend, and that this year he brought a friend to take to the Pow Wow, which didn’t happen.
As I left and walked back to my car, a young man, perhaps 12-years-old said out-loud to anyone who could hear, “This makes me really mad.” He saw me and pointed to an empty water bottle stuck in the nook between two limbs in a tree. “This is a perfectly good climbing tree and someone has left trash in it,” he said. He was really mad about littering — which reminded me of something I recently read by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin in a book called “Extreme Ownership.”
“It’s not what you preach. It’s what you tolerate.”
I took the trash from the young boy who had expressed himself like a man. I watched him climb the perfectly good climbing tree, and waved goodbye.