My girl is a planner. The Children's Parade was two days ago. Gracie and her friends decided on the Cinderella theme. Days of preparation. Costumes were assembled. Lots of phone calls. Decisions as to who would be Cinderella, the stepsisters. Then the "float" building. Her Radio Flyer wagon was to be the mode of transportation. Scott, Gracie and her friend Abby began the arduous task. A trip to Home Depot. Chicken wire, zip ties and a couple of hula hoops and they were off. Within a couple of hours the shape of the pumpkin had been created. Did I forget to tell you that the parade was in Appleton? And the pumpkin was born in Madison?
The precious produce/float was loaded into the back of the truck and secured. This is where the story gets interesting. As I'm driving through the streets of Madison I am getting the most rewarding looks. You know. The what the heck is that looks. Lots of smiles. I in turn smile back thinking if you only knew what this was. As I get on the highway and reach the 65 mile an hour speed limit, my phone rings. It is the co-creator of this masterpiece---Scott. As we are talking, and yes I know I shouldn't talk on the phone while driving, I look in the rear view mirror. Oh no. Scott, I have to go, the float is flying off the back of the truck. It is literally hanging by a bungee cord. It's riding the rail of the right side of the truck.
This is where it gets a little movie like. And by that I mean dramatic. I look at the girls in the back seat. They are oblivious to what is happening. Ipods are rockin'. I know this float is going to fly off the truck. I check my left side view mirror. No one in the lane next to me. I do this Starsky and Hutch maneuver and jerk the truck to the left. The wagon falls back into the bed of the truck and I take the next exit. We stop and I send the girls into McDonald's for refreshments. Scott and I talk and try to come up with better ideas for tethering. I think I've got it and off we go.
Seven miles later, not so much. That baby is shaking. I don't want to have this thing fly off and hurt someone---or worse. Exit again. This time in the middle of nowhere. I pull off on a country road. I'm readjusting and getting frustrated. After a few minutes my Prince Charming pulls up in his silver truck. I have a silver truck. I'm partial. Now, I'm a one Prince Charming kind of gal, but every once in a while you just need to have another one come into your life---for a few minutes. He says, trouble? I say, not with my truck but with my cargo. He looks at the float and is too polite to ask. So I explain. It's a float for a kids parade and that two girls will be pretty sad if it doesn't arrive safely. To work we go. We lay the thing on its side. We work with bungees and ratchet straps. It finally feels secure. He tells me that he kayaks. Nothing works better to tie down than good old fashioned rope. I'm getting some. I may even carry some in my purse from now on.
He says he wishes that he could do more. He wishes he could drive this float to Appleton for us. I reply, so do I. More importantly he says, and the girls are listening, because he would have loved to see the finished float and see the parade. They smile ear to ear. So do I. I shake his hand and thank him profusely. Off he drives into the sunset. Well, not quite. It was 11:00 a.m. And as I drove off, I thought, I should have gotten his name. I could have sent him a thank you card. I think he knows how thankful we were. The kindness of strangers. Paying it forward. I'm touched.
The rest of the trip was uneventful. We made it. A little bent out of shape. The pumpkin---not me. A little scratched up---yes, me. Rough edges on chicken wire. Nasty. The final decorating went well. Orange plastic table cloths were used to cover the shape. A stem was made out of an empty paper towel roll and some green tissue evolved into leaves. The float and the girls were a hit at the parade. A day to remember. So many Cinderellas, so little time.
©2010 Ann M. De Broux