One of the interesting things about living in a completely different environment is observing the cultural differences.
Living in Illinois for 35 years I had been to my fair share of parades but stopped going when Examiner Jr. grew out of the candy-grabbing stage. Here in my part of Texas the county fair is a big freakin’ deal. Schools and most businesses are closed for the Friday parade—and there is no candy. This year the parade had 115 entries and lasted well over 2 hours, which isn’t bad for a county with a population of around 118,000.
Here’s part of what I saw in Texas that I never did in Illinois parades:
***A float by Chik-fil-A wasn’t booed or yelled BIGOT! A float by The Sons Of Confederate Veterans featuring the Stars & Bars didn’t get boos or angry shouts of RACIST! We’re all about tolerance here in Texas.
***Speaking of tolerance, Equine-Americans are not discriminated against and sent to the back of the bus. They are featured throughout the parade with the appropriate “clean up crews” following behind.
***There is also political tolerance. Unlike the RICo Labor Day parade where the GOP was sent to the back of the line, the Democrat float was ahead of the GOP/Tea Party floats, proving that in Texas, we pity the fools who are Democrats and are willing to give them an advantage.
***There was a massive contingent of farm tractors in the parade—easily over 60, with all but a few being Deere and Farmall. Thank you Democrat unions for killing jobs and your Farmall cash cow—they are now mucho collectible.
***Lots of church floats—some extremely elaborate and expensive. Also homeschool floats, something you’ll never see in Illinois because just like Farmall—UNIONS!
***In what I considered a brilliant stroke of organization, a German-American float blaring beer hall music was followed by a LULAC float blaring Mexican music. It was the Battle of Cultures and the Mexicans won! At least when judged by volume. There was a lot of diversity in float music—county, rap, Lady Gaga, stuff I couldn’t identify, which was probably new. We’re all about diversity in Texas.
***Befitting a state with no income tax and a climate where you can golf all year, there was a Geezer Precision Lawn Chair Team. Go Geezers!
***All the county schools were well represented with floats, bands, twirlers (who knew?), precision white wooden rifle teams, service groups, etc. With many military bases in the area, unsurprisingly there were also many school military youth organizations, because after all, it is their family business. Something you’ll NEVER see in any RICo parade.
So as you can imagine, I’m feeling more at home in Texas after three years than I ever did in 35 years in Illinois.