When my family moved from the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex to the small town of Belton, Texas it was the weekend of July 4th. We moved into an old fixer-upper house (which we never quite fixed up) just one block off Main Street and one block up from the traffic light that really would start blinking at 10:00 at night.
The first day my then four year old daughter woke up in her new house she looked out the front window and said, "Mommy, why are all these people parking at our house?" I looked out the window with her and saw a variety of vintage automobiles, a flatbed truck full of little league ball players, a handful of Civil War re-enactors in uniform, and a hook and ladder truck from a nearby community's volunteer fire department.
Our street was a feeder street for the Belton Independence Day parade, the largest in the state of Texas by some reports. It would take hours for all the floats, vintage cars, ball teams, and such to wind their way through town.
My father, who grew up in Temple, recalls going to Belton for the July 4th parade when he was a child. He was delighted to hear that my daughter and I sat on the swing on our porch and watched our part of the parade as other floats and riders on horseback joined the assembly. Then we all walked a block over to watch the rest of the parade from the lawn of the church.
Welcome to rural America.
Each year the parade assembled in front of our house and I learned where the best vantage points were for taking pictures as I began my career as a photographer. I also learned to shoot fast and get out of the Texas heat. So, here is one of my favorites. (By the way, I do hope God blesses America, like the church sign says. I hope he blesses other countries, too).