Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Ephrata Parade Experience

Last evening I spent 4 1/2 hours navigating my way to and from the Ephrata Parade and learned a whole lot about life in Ephrata and myself. My primary reason for being there was to watch my daughter participate in the parade with her Irish Dance Group.

1) The Ephrata parade is a huge deal!!! My whole neighborhood was buzzing about this yearly event weeks ago.

2) I saw a driver block an entire line of oncoming traffic with her SUV to let a long line of people who wanted to go left make the turn. I heard more honking and foul language in those 30 seconds then I have heard since moving to Lancaster County. Nothing like Fall Fair Fun!

3) I must confess that the reason I know number 2 is that I was one of those left turn drivers that took advantage of this drivers gutsy move. Thanks whoever you are.

4) I really don't know my way around Ephrata that well yet.

5) I learned a big lesson regarding the need to stake your claim at least 5-7 days in advance if you want prime front row seating for the parade. Thankfully, us parade rookies found a few families from Grace that were kind enough to let us sit with them for our viewing pleasure.

6) I felt immense pride as a father watching my daughter dance her way up the street to a wonderful Irish jig with a huge smile on her face enjoying every moment of life. Those few minutes in that 4 1/2 hour trek made it all worth while. What a blessing it is to be a dad of two great kids!

7) I thought Halloween had come early with the amount of candy my son and his friend took in from the parade. The kids actually come with bags and make out like bandits as many of the parade participants throw candy to the cheering crowd. I'm not convinced throwing candy into the middle of the street is wise when the next parade participant is a transport truck, but it works.

8) Apart from my daughter, my favorite part of any parade is still the Pipes. There is nothing like the sound of the bagpipes filling the air on a beautiful fall night. It brought back some great memories of the Pipe parades we would watch every Saturday evening throughout the summer when the little town of Kincardine (where we lived) would shut down main street so a 100 pipers or so could walk down the street and play. It's the Scottish in me!

9) At the risk of raising controversy, I can appreciate a church's desire to participate in a parade, but I'm not convinced the outdated tracts they throw into the crowd are going to draw the multitudes of people we saw last night into church. It would be an interesting thing to measure how effective that method of outreach really is.

10) It was fun to be reminded that my little girl has a special place in this daddy's heart. There was a brief moment when I wasn't sure where I would meet up with my little girl after the parade and my long legs had me moving at a pace throughout that crowd to find her that was impressive for a man my age. To finally see her at a distance with that big smile on her face and to have her run up to me and give me a hug made that whole evening all worth it. I'm pretty sure what I was feeling at that point is what my heavenly father feels every time I come running into His loving and secure arms with a smile on my face because I love living life in and through Him.

It was a fun family night!

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