Yesterday, Ray and I were up in the town of Ojai (population 8,000) where we have our orange grove. We went up there to join our daughter Liz and her fiancé Ron to attend the 4th of July parade in downtown Ojai.
Apparently every year many of the residents put their lawn chairs out on the sidewalks of the main street as many as 2 to 3 weeks ahead of the annual 4th of July parade. Clearly, they want a front row seat. We drove through town before the parade and saw lawn chairs of various shapes, colors and sizes neatly lined up facing the street in anticipation of the parade. The chairs’ very presence made us want to come since one must assume this is one hum-dinger of an event if people are taking time out of their busy days to fold up lawn chairs, put them in the trunks of their cars and drive them down to secure that “perfect” spot for parade viewing. I overheard an older woman who looked like a long-term Ojai resident tell her fellow chair holders, “My chairs have been sitting in this spot for the past 2 1/2 weeks.”
We actually were worried that we would have to stand the entire parade, particularly given the number of chairs that were lined up. However, as luck would have it, we found a nice low wall to sit on right behind those chairs just 30 minutes before the parade started. Admittedly, we weren’t as comfortable as the chair occupants and we also didn’t bring ice chests like many of them did, but we were surprisingly happy.
The parade was lots of fun. A marching band, veterans from different wars and branches of the service, vintage cars and tractors, several groups of horseback riders with dancing horses and their own bands, firefighters in their firetrucks, sheriffs on horseback, exercise studios doing routines on the street, floats sponsored by schools and churches and even the Hari Krishnas. There was even a thurifer leading the float for St. Andrew’s Episcopal church! Lots of waves and smiles exchanged between people in the parade and the parade attendees; lots of little kids dashing out to pick up candies tossed from floats; lots of clapping for horses and dancers and kids from the Tae Kwon Do studio breaking boards with their feet. A wide range of entertainment that lasted a full 1 1l2 hours.
Next year, we will definitely be back and maybe even consider putting our lawn chairs out early. We might even bring a smallish ice chest as well. After all, it is quite an event and we might as well be comfortable.