The boys and I arrived a bit late for the Clinton Days parade. As we ran down the sidewalk trying to catch up, a fireman rolled down the firetruck window and asked if the boys would like to ride with him in the parade. I didn't know him and he didn't know my kids- but I didn't give a second thought to lifting my boys up into the fire engine. I could hear them introducing themselves as the truck continued on the parade route. I figured I'd find the boys somewhere near the end of the 1 mile parade route.
After the parade and a fine lunch at The Cabin, the fire station was set up for kids games. Again, I didn't think twice about leaving the kids there while I crossed the street for groceries. While there I mentioned to Bonnie, owner of the grocery store, that I could sure use a hot drink. She made me a cup of Fair Trade Colombian Coffee in the back of the store and we sat at the table outside on the grocery store deck- surrounded by huge pots of flowers- fire station in sight and the sounds of happy children.
Then - joy of joys- the firemen set up the fire hoses on either side of the block and groups of kids took turns trying to blast a ball back and forth at each other. My little guys each got a shot with the fire hose and got soaked. Jens- all 38 pounds of him- was shirtless and freezing from the cold well water. So it was time to go home
The day was topped off with a live band and street dance at night. The whole day is put on by the Clinton Commercial Club- the women's service club.
My memory imprint of yesterday is a relaxing sense of fun and being cared for... myself and my kids. The difference between this small town and life in St. Paul is, for me, the absence of a parental anxiety, mostly subconscious. There really is a village taking care of its children. A few weeks ago we were putting in a community garden at the Care Center in town-- one of the big Dad's yelled at my boys to behave. The group of about 30 of us chuckle when I said "Yup- it Takes a Village to yell at my children."