© Another Day in the Country
Summer seems as if it has only just begun and yet the Fourth of July — which marks its midpoint for me — is right around the corner. For as long as we’ve been in Ramona, there’s a lot of scurrying around to be done before the Fourth of July.
“Nobody knows what this takes,” my sister comments as she peruses yet another list of things to do as she organizes the town event. After all, it takes a lot of lists and a lot of work for a handful of people to pull off a huge Fourth of July celebration in a little town like Ramona, population 100 +/-.
“The committee” is just about the same as it’s been for years —few, but mighty! They each have their assigned jobs, and we are all praying for good weather. (Of course, we remember the year that we literally were rained out — completely — in spite of prayers and supplications.)
Jess is busy making posters and recruiting all the good folk who sponsor this celebration year after year with their dollars.
Art is making final plans for the lawn mower obstacle course. Jeannie is planning redneck games, and Amber has recruited Herington Municipal Hospital to be one of the food vendors.
The fireworks are ordered, and Byron will pick them up. The band has been scheduled for months now. Notices have gone out to the kids in the area about the lawn art contest, and my young friend Michael has already picked his partners. He told me in a text message.
“It’s the parade that is always up for grabs,” my sister laments, and she is right.
No matter what we’ve tried, wheedling people off their lawn chairs and into a parade entry is hard work. There always is this tension, wondering what will actually show up.
“If nothing shows up, we’ll just go around twice,” we joke, remembering the very first Fourth of July parade we choreographed 20-some years ago.
Thanks to our sponsors, we have wonderful prizes for those who participate, but it’s always a mystery as to what inspires someone to join the parade.
That said, we’ve had some real doozies!
The theme for the Fourth of July in Ramona has been the same for quite a few years now: Redneck in Ramona! We wanted name recognition, and this theme has a certain ring to it!
I remember one of the little kids in town asking “What is a redneck?” And, putting the most positive spin possible on it, Jess explained that it was someone who made the best of what they had with very little money and managed to have a whole lot of fun with simple things — even junk.
And in that spirit, we’ve had some of the most hilarious entries in our parade.
I’ll always remember “Redneck GPS,” created by the Makovec family. It was a tractor with two kids in the front-end bucket with binoculars and a road map.
Julie, who inspired the redneck run, always conjures up floats with family and friends that consistently win prizes in the parade.
A couple of the most recent were “Redneck Workout,” with the exercising crew using beer cans as weights, and “Redneck Yoga,” with postures you’ll just have to imagine.
There also was “The Butt-Cracker Suite” (which you had to see to believe) and last year’s entry, “The Town Dump,” which make me laugh just thinking about that one.
“We’ve got to come up with something good,” Jess says to me, and our minds start churning.
Remember Art’s “Redneck Lawnmower Towing Service” and David and Jane’s “Redneck Bucket Truck?” About the time that you think you’ve seen it all and milked this theme for all it can give, someone comes up with another good one!
We are still searching for that magic idea that makes our hearts sing.
Last year, Jess dressed up like Miss Trash with an evening gown made of all kinds of trash.
I was in California during the Fourth of July but we recycled our Fourth of July entry for Redneck in Ramona into an entry for Burdick’s Labor Day parade.
I wore an old garbage can with a bright red swim suit painted on the outside of it and declared myself the runner up to Miss Trash.
Of course, I always had to be a little behind the winner, talking to folks along the route and then running to catch up. I’m not sure that everyone got the pun about runner up, but it made me laugh and that’s what counts in the final tally.
It’s another day in the country and another Fourth of July celebration is being planned for another hour or two of creative redneck fun.
Joining a parade in any of our small towns that have celebrations is another way to experience community! So, get off your duff and join the fun!