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How I failed kids today

xmas me
When I woke, the sun was not quite gleaming through the clouds, and my email was quite beeping with the reminder that I had things that must be returned to the library. So, I trundled the items into the back of the trike, spread on the sunscreen (even on cloudy days in Florida, you never know when you'll need the sunscreen) hopped on the trike --

-- to find my path to the library blocked by the Winter Garden "4th of July" "parade."

I put this in quotes partly because, as you might note, it's not actually the 4th yet, and mostly because this only partly fits my definition of "parade" which includes, not at random, floats and bands and balloons. To be fair, this particular event does include a lot of balloons, but what it mostly is, and I say this in the kindest possible fashion, is an excuse for a lot of small children to run or bike madly down the main downtown section of Winter Garden shrieking at the top of their lungs while dragging balloons.

Initially, everyone was under the impression that I and a group of very intense cyclists (the bike trail always has groups of very intense cyclists, especially on Saturdays, who take this whole DO NOT BLOCK OUR SPEED ON THE BIKE TRAIL LIKE EVER very seriously) were there to join the parade, with the slight sticking points that the cyclists just wanted to run over the small kids (this is what very intense cycling does to you) and my trike is purple, not blue or red, and was tragically and distinctly lacking in balloons. The kids thought this was very sad. ("Why doesn't SHE have a ballooooooonnnnnn!") and after some discussion with the intense cyclists we attempted to get off the bike trail (which alas also, as it turned out, meant missing the cupcake stand further along the trail waiting to sell cupcakes to balloon laden kids, intense cyclists and trike riders tragically deprived of ballooons) only to find that we actually couldn't, thanks to various road blocks meant to protect small distracted children from approaching cars. So, instead, we wove our way around already overheated parents and grandparents setting up chairs to watch the "parade" ("this is so much nicer at Halloween and Christmas," was the common consensus) and various little wagons and tricycles and bicycles and balloons.

(I must say that even balloonless, my trike remained the envy of many.)

I did eventually make it out and over to the library. By the time I returned (which was not much later) the "parade," which hadn't actually officially started when I left, was already over, which gives you an idea of just how not large this parade is (the library is not far from the historical downtown area, even by trike, and I didn't linger). Wagons and tricycles and small children still abounded, sadly doing most of their abounding right in front of the ice cream shop which had been another tentative destination of mine. (They make excellent ice cream sodas, which are a medical necessity in Florida summers.)

This all explains why I just invested in raw local honey. Ok, it doesn't really, but let's pretend it does.

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Mari Ness

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