4th of July in a small town has a unique flavor. We moved to the small town of Ashland, Kansas when I was 11 years old. Of course, many of you would consider the city of 20,000 we moved from in Iowa a small place.
In a small town everyone gets involved in celebrating Independence day. One of the big events every year was the parade. Many times there were as many people in the parade as there were watching it. I was usually in the parade for some reason or other. Whether it was Boy Scouts or just pulling one of my younger siblings in a decorated wagon.
In this picture I was marching with the Boy Scout color guard.
My friend Craig was carrying the flag and David and I were on either side of him. My friend Nancy is just ahead of us dressed as Betsy Ross.
After the parade it was time for the World’s Largest Turtle Race. For weeks before all the kids of the community, and the adults too, would search the roadways and fields for turtles. Most of the turtles were box turtles, but sometimes there would be other types entered. There were always prizes for the biggest and smallest turtles. All of the turtles that were entered into the race would be placed inside a circular enclosure in the middle of a much larger circle marked with chalk. The enclosure would be lifted and it would be off to the races. The first turtle to reach the chalk line would be declared the winner.
The afternoon would be filled with fun events for kids. I missed most of them since I was too old, plus I was almost always working in the Boy Scout Firework Stand. We had brisk business on the 4th as we would have a big sale to move the last of the inventory.
In the evening it was off to the fairgrounds for a Buffalo barbecue and to get ready for the fireworks at the baseball field. We had to watch out at the fireworks as we were never too far from where they were being launched. Not as many safety regulations back then 😉
I remember several times having to duck to avoid the sparks from a misfire.
Lots of memories from Independence day when I was a kid. Today I think more about the significance of the day and how my ancestors fought to free our country.