Once upon a time, I traversed miles and miles of Oklahoma mountains to ride in my grandma's homecoming parade.
Good 'ol Allen, Oklahoma (population: Not Many) had their annual homecoming events and my sweet little Grandma Joy bribed me with a flag to waive in the parade. She didn't have to ask me twice!
Moving from Houston to Oklahoma City has calmed me down A LOT, but going from Oklahoma City to Allen almost had me comatose. In the best way possible. It was so calming!
If you're not careful, you'll miss your turn off Highway 1 and miss the town completely, but once you're on Broadway, driving through downtown, it's a hop-skip-and-a-jump to Grandma's cottage of Joy
Her part of the Allen Alumni float (aka: a golf cart) was already decorated when I got there and she outlined our schedule for me down to the minute. This may be a small town, but we ARE related and there aint no shortage of activity with the Andersons! We met her running buddies and the rest of the parade practically in her backyard.
When we drove up, the class president of the high school was literally like, "Hey, Joy, lookin' good! You can line up down there!" Now it isn't much of a surprise that I'm kin to popular people around the country, but this girl was eighteen (18) years old and is on a first name basis with my g r a n d m a. I'm just sayin, she's popular.
It didn't take long to drive the parade route, but it was definitely an affair to remember. After the homecoming court announcement, we drove the float down to Dave's Diner for some dessert with friends. My first chocolate pie. I liked Grandma's sundae better, and the homemade peanut brittle her friend baked me. Dave's was pretty much an awesome, sugary experience. And I really hope that's the name of the diner. SEE THAT? A consequence of being a city girl - I'm terrible with names. Which is the perfect segue to my VERY FAVORITE story of the weekend ... since I can't remember their names ...
Before the parade, I had the pleasure of meeting a super sassy 86 year old woman and a nice younger man I thought was her son. I quickly stood corrected when he told us the story of their Friday night activities: they were at a concession stand at a fair, ordered a couple hot dogs, when they were served, the lady said, "the condiments are over there". He grinned, cut his eye at the servers and replied,
"oh no thanks, honey, we're way to old to use those."
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, YOU GUYS, I was in hysterics! 1. because it was funny, and 2. because I was laughing at a sexual joke with my Grandma and her friends. Anyway, turns out this youngish maintenance man totally put the moves on 86 during a house call a few months ago and they've been inseparable since. Moral of the story? Love has no boundaries and age is just a number. Amen.
So back to the show. Please look at these sweet little feet that drove us all 8 minutes through the parade route. And that boom box you see would have played the Allen fight song the whole time if we weren't forced to loan it to a 5 year old. Really, I'm not bitter.
So after dessert, we napped. Well, let me rephrase that: I napped. Grandma was too excited to nap. Then we went to the middle school cafeteria for the golf team's spaghetti fundraiser, and onto the stadium to see the Queen get crowned and watch some football on a very small football field. I love my life.
If you look very closely, you can see a precious 5 year old in a purple dress. Really all I can see is a stealer of the Allen fight song CD I should have listened to on the parade route. Really, I'm not bitter.
Anyway, Grandma said the game wouldn't take long because of the Mercy Rule. Apparently there's not much competition in the area for their 1-man show, so they haven't made it past halftime yet this season... but she spoke too soon, because Weleetka brought their A-game, took us through all 4 quarters and beat us by 2 points. It was a tough loss, but if the Allen coach finds himself on Musings of a Monkey Mind, please let the record show that WE NEED TO GET A KICKER. Thank you.
The halftime show wasn't too shabby for a band that's only been around for 2 years. But I kept singing Kenny Chesney "The Boys of Fall" to myself to keep music in my life. Seemed appropriate.
The athlete in me was impressed that everyone on the field AND the sidelines took a knee during an injury. A far cry from my experience with injuries... pretty sure I was spit on when I tore my ACL
OKAY, FINE. That's an over exaggeration for the sake of story telling. I wasn't spit on. But this is true... if there was a trophy for Biggest Fan, she'd get it
We rolled in the door somewhere near 11:30PM, took ourselves out to the porch swing and watched the football game "traffic" clear out. It was right about then that I truly started appreciating the small town life. There's something so redeeming, peaceful and pure about the atmosphere of Allen, Oklahoma. It's no wonder my grandma moved back after all these years. And when we visited the war memorial and our family plots at the cemetery the next morning, I was just overcome by nostalgia
and SO happy I made the trip. It's actually really nice to take a step back and get up close and personal with your roots :)