mem day

On Memorial Day morning, Monona residents are faced with a dilemma: sleep in or go to the parade. Based on almost 20 years of experience of always choosing the parade option, here is a primer to help you enjoy the parade.

Transportation

Drive to the parade, don’t walk. How do you justify this waste of fuel when you live within walking distance? By parking at IHM school and church and going to their white elephant sale before the parade. You’ll need a car for all your purchases.

Location

Stand at the same location every year. We had to deviate from this the year Monona Drive was under construction, and the experience was too disorienting. Make sure it is within striking distance of liquid refreshment and bathrooms (i.e. McDonald’s).

Don’t bring chairs. It is too oxymoronic to sit in comfort and gaze at the parade as if you were watching TV, while veterans who sacrificed for us walk by. It’s either that or I’m too lazy to bring chairs, I’ll let you guess which one is the real reason. Ahem.

Activities during the Parade

Candy-gathering. You’ll usually forget to bring bags for the kids to use to store their candy, which ensures there will be a mountain of candy thrown their way. Of course you will discreetly pocket some of it for yourself (feel free to send some Tootsie Rolls my way if you get any extras).

Anxiously look for the World War II veteran. If you don’t see him walking with the other veterans, don’t panic. Sometimes he’s in a car.

Express disappointment that Tammy Baldwin isn’t in the parade anymore, like she was in the good old days when she was in the House of Representatives.

Talk to the same neighbors every year. It’s too easy to live near someone and go months with barely any chatting outside of Facebook. The Memorial Day annual chat is a wonderful way to catch up in person.

Realize you forgot to put on sunblock.

Post-Parade

The parade becomes boring after about the first 45 minutes once the veterans, vintage cars, politicians, marching bands and school teams have marched through.

Because we stand, no one begs to stay until the very end. We go back to IHM, this time for the festival. If the children spot friends at the festival, be prepared for yet more standing and chatting. If not, you’ll be home by noon.

You could now head over to Brat Fest or, like me, start resting up (and saving money for) for the July 4 festival. After you figure out what to do with your white elephant purchases.

This Humor Me column originally appeared in the Herald-Independent on May 26, 2016.


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