I’ve walked in parades most of my adult life thanks to my job in radio, but this year at the 4th of July parade in Brainerd I experienced a first.
Let me explain.
As we prepared for the parade at our studios, we pre-loaded the candy to hand out in plastic buckets. We had several different kinds of candy, so we were putting a quantity of each of the different candies in each bucket. This allowed all of us, including Tess Taylor, Dan & Mac from the Power Loon, our intern Mariah, and myself to sample the different candy in the interest of quality control. The buckets are a bright Kelly-green, because we first purchased them for the St. Patrick’s parade in Crosslake.
Our bucket budget was apparently low this year, so we re-used the green ones. Anyway, once the parade started, we commenced the candy distribution with Tess and Mac on one side of the vehicle, Mariah and I on the other, and Dan driving the station vehicle, munching on candy. As we tossed candy to the groups of smiling children donned in red, white, and blue, I noticed that the smallest child in every group rarely got any candy. The older kids, probably already on an epic sugar rush, would scoop up as much candy for themselves as they possibly could, leaving nothing for the little ones who were not as fast or aggressive in their pursuit of the sweet treats.
After seeing this phenomenon several times, I decided to toss candy to the kids and then walk over to the smallest child in every group and hand them a piece of candy. Back to the green buckets for a moment. Unbeknownst to me, the second bucket of candy I grabbed out of the station vehicle had a hole in the bottom. As I walked along, pieces of candy were falling out the bottom. I thought the candy hitting me in the leg was being thrown by Tess or Mac, as I did not know about the hole in the bucket. Just after we turned south on 5th street after going past the Post Office, I came to another group of children. Once again, there was a small child in the group.
I walked up to the smallest one with a piece of candy and bent way down to give it to her. As I did this, my bucket was leaking candy, and a boy ran behind me to grab the candy falling out of the bucket. I did not see this boy until I turned and ran to catch up to the vehicle, but it was too late. As I turned, I started to trip over the boy, and in an effort to not crush him completely, barrel-rolled over him and on to the pavement, sending my candy flying in every direction. There I was, lying on the street, candy all over the place and a number of parade watchers running to my aid to make sure the old guy was OK. The boy I tripped over was nowhere to be seen. Boy was I embarrassed!
When I was in college, I could barrel-roll with a full glass of beer and never spilled a drop! As I was helped to my feet, I tried to pick up as much candy as I could, and get back to the business of handing out candy. I do want to take this time to thank the folks who helped me pick up candy and check on my welfare. Other than a few scratches, the only thing bruised was my pride. I have already asked for new red white and blue buckets for next year, barring that, the first thing I’ll do next time is check for holes in the bucket!