20. It was, as usual, a hot and sunny July 4—Independence Day. Eight‐year‐old Jeffrey was excited about the annual parade. He wanted to see everything, and he wanted to see it now. But the parade wouldn't start until 10 o'clock. His mom Julia tried to keep Jeffrey in check. She made him clean his room and take the dog for a walk. When he finished those chores, she walked with him to the parade route, which extended about two miles along Sierra Madre Boulevard.
The parade, as usual, was wonderful. It started with the high school band and a marching drum band. Then followed about a dozen government dignitaries in convertibles, smiling and waving at the people they were usually lying to. After that, there were clowns, jugglers, exotic cars, racing cars, and classic cars. Interwoven among the cars were Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, students representing various elementary schools, the local mountain rescue squad, and local realtors throwing out free candy with their business cards attached.
Three bands played music from their rolling truck beds. The parade contained more than 500 participants and lasted two hours. Flags, balloons, and trash receptacles were everywhere. The sidewalks were full of spectators. Leashed to their owners, about 200 dogs also attended the parade, most of them sniffing, barking at, and playing with one another.
The final part of the parade was the fire trucks, blowing their horns and spraying all the kids who ran out into the street yelling and laughing. Jeffrey ran out with about 20 other kids and got totally wet. His shirt clung to his body. Water was squishing out of his shoes when he finally came back to the sidewalk. A huge smile was on his face.
"That was great, Mom!" he exclaimed. "Did you see that? When I grow up, I'm going to be a fireman." 6.5, 311
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