Dear Jack: You and Papa Watched Your Sister Ride in the Saddest Parade Ever

6 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

This past weekend as Nonna and Papa were in town from Alabama, you took advantage of spending all the time you could with Papa, as the two of you have always been on the same creative (and often physically active) wavelength. You spent hours with Papa at the kitchen table, working on arts and crafts.

One of those crafts included the two of you co-writing your own version of the book, Mr. Nobody, by Roger Hargreaves.

While taking a break from all your hard work, you both sat down in the gray sofa chair in the living room. I was on the floor with your sister, who wasn’t quite tired enough for a nap, nor energetic enough to laugh or even smile while we played.

She used her special Super Mario jump sound to communicate to me that she wanted to ride the zebra scooter. So I helped her up into the saddle and slowly began pushing her across the carpet.

I announced, “Hey everyone, Holly’s in a parade! Here she comes!”

But the look on her face indicated that she was way too sad to be in a parade. As she made her way across the living room, I kindly whispered, “Wave, Holly! You’re in a parade. Everyone’s here to see you!”

Yet still, just a sad little face was all she could muster up. I started feeling sad too at that point, as I thought of her as a poor little melancholy clown.

You and Papa obviously found humor in it: to see such a tired and confused looking, yet cute little girl as the sole member of a parade.

After the parade ended, you and Papa went from resting, to wrestling, to rolling.

It was sort of like the post-parade event.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You Saw Your 1st Parade… By Accident

5 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack: You Saw Your 1st Parade... By Accident

Dear Jack,

On Saturday morning, our family decided to introduce your Aunt Jenny, Uncle Tom, and cousins Taylore and Rachel (visiting from Pennsylvania) to our favorite vegan-friendly pizza place: Mellow Mushroom in downtown Franklin, Tennessee; just 11 miles from our house.

Dear Jack: You Saw Your 1st Parade... By Accident

We were surprised at how difficult it was to find a parking space, though. Ultimately, we took the last remaining spot at the top of the downtown parking garage.

Dear Jack: You Saw Your 1st Parade... By Accident

All the girls wanted to stop by Starbucks first, which is 2 blocks away and across the street. By the time the girls got their coffee, we realized that people were lining up on the sidewalks, facing the street.

We soon learned that the Franklin Rodeo Parade would be beginning in 10 minutes, which explained why it was so difficult to find a place to park. Fortunately, the 8 of us had claimed the giant table next to the giant window, facing the street. In other words, we had front row seats for the parade.

Dear Jack: You Saw Your 1st Parade... By Accident

To my knowledge, you had never seen a parade before. Obviously, you enjoyed it! You loved the school bands- you were amazed by the tubas.

Dear Jack: You Saw Your 1st Parade... By Accident

You got to see horses, clowns, tiny eighteen-wheelers, classic cars, and people dressed up in animal costumes. Once you realized they were throwing candy, you decided to upgrade your seat to the sidewalk outside.

Dear Jack: You Saw Your 1st Parade... By Accident

After the parade ended, we made our way to Mellow Mushroom. Because of all the people who showed up for the parade, it was an hour wait to get a table.

Dear Jack: You Saw Your 1st Parade... By Accident

So we followed the girls around to the shops there on Main Street. Once we got to White’s Mercantile, you found something of interest: a wooden glider plane. Anytime you go to the dentist, you always choose the Styrofoam glider plane from the prize box; but now, you had access to the Lexus version.

While there, we noticed a decorative wooden box up on the shelf with your sister’s name on it: Holly.

Dear Jack: You Saw Your 1st Parade... By Accident

The girl running the cashier explained that Holly is the owner’s name; as in Holly Williams, the granddaughter of country music legend Hank Williams. I thought that was pretty cool.

Dear Jack: You Saw Your 1st Parade... By Accident

During lunch at Mellow Mushroom, you were preoccupied with building your glider plane, so I helped you with that as we waited on the food- though I admit, you knew how to do the rubber band part of the propeller before I could even figure it out.

Dear Jack: You Saw Your 1st Parade... By Accident

Once we got home, you and I tested out your plane in the backyard. The next afternoon, we all headed over the Arrington Vineyards for a picnic. It was a great area to fly your plane.

Dear Jack: You Saw Your 1st Parade... By Accident

Imagine this: Had we simply gone straight to Mellow Mushroom on Saturday, we would have missed the parade, as well as going into White’s Mercantile to buy your plane.

Dear Jack: You Saw Your 1st Parade... By Accident

It was just meant to be.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You Saw Your 1st Parade... By Accident