Saturday last week we were with the Mile High Warnocks at the “Cave of the Winds” near Colorado Springs. After touring the cave, we bought sandwiches for lunch and picnicked at the “Garden of the Gods.” But that was last week.
Today, Mike suggested it would be fun to take in the fair parade in Orofino. The Clearwater County Fair and Lumberjack Days celebration is in full swing, with the parade starting at 10:00 a.m. The theme this year: “100 Years of Clearwater County” – or “Happy 100th Birthday, Clearwater County,” or some such.
“Do you think you’ll see anyone you know?” asked Mike.
“Doubtful,” I said, thinking that unless I just happened to see Harry and Mary Lou on the street, I wouldn’t know anyone. The community has changed so much since I graduated from high school. Normal change is gradual and subtle, but the cumulative effect over time becomes noticeable, and I think that’s true of everything.
I used to like to take in the fair when my parents lived in the heart of town. It was easy to go early and park in their driveway, just a block off the parade route. “Can’t we park at your folks’ house?” asked Mike. The answer was a resounding no. We parked on Kalaspo (between the Fagan’s and the Haney’s, for those of you who know the houses), and we walked down “D” Street toward Brown Avenue, slowly looking over the old family home.
As we left Clarkston the other day, Mike checked out a novel by Nelson DeMille, only to discover he had read it. The libraries in our region are all part of the same library system, Valnet, which allows us to check out and return books to any library within the system, and it works great for us. The library in Orofino sits right on the parade route, so with a few minutes to spare, Mike returned the one book and checked out another, this time a John Grisham novel. (I selected Country Decorating by Country Living. I figure it will either spur me to action or discourage me.) We then found a spot on the curb near the library and directly across the street from the “Orofino School,” now a condemned building. We were soon flanked by two families with about four little kids each, a fact that would become significant. Taking advantage of a little waiting time to read, Mike discovered he had also read that novel, but at least he was able to immediately return it. He came back with a book from the “new release” shelf.
As the parade began, the candy began to flow – out of log trucks, out of fire trucks, off of flatbed trucks, out of new vehicles. I’d say 75% of the parade participants threw candy for the kids. I felt kinda sorry for Mike at first because they threw to the kids on either side of us but mostly ignored him, and he likes Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Pops, which were abundant. We felt sorta obligated to hand any candy that landed in front of us to the kids, but as the parade wore on and the candy continued to flow, I felt the kids had enough and we began to quietly keep what came our way – really not all that much. One business threw bright orange whistles with the candy, and I unabashedly ran out and picked up one of those. Nellie’s has seen better days. We also came home with two pop can sleeves, one of the mothers graciously handing me hers. I’m sorry I was not successful in garnering a Frisbee, but I asked for and received a seedling tree, a Douglas fir, from the University of Idaho. We planted it in the grove when we got home.
“What’s this? Halloween isn’t until next month!” an onlooker observed. As the parade ended and Mike and I moved up the street, I saw that some families came prepared with sacks for the candy.
We had thought we might take in the exhibits. We had thought we would buy a little gasoline for the 4-wheeler. In the end, once we were in the flow of traffic, it was easiest just to head on over the bridge and back up the Gilbert Grade, so that’s what we did. It’s tough to be a guest in your own home town.
[The first picture is of Yancey at "Cave of the Wind." The second is of me on the left with the Mile High Warnocks at "Garden of the Gods." The rest were taken at the parade in Orofino today, the most notable being the vintage tractors from the collection of our neighbor, Pete Curfman.] KW