The other morning I was at Sorbenots chatting with Betty Spooner. She told me that in a mere one hour the annual Shriners Parade would begin. Because I have yet to attend a Baker City parade that hasn’t amused me greatly, I says to myself, “Corinne, THE SHRINERS PARADE IS YOUR DESTINY.”
All that stood between me and Shriners bliss was a potty break, changing out of my sports bra, and putting carefully selected crackers into a bowl for B.T. (just to clarify, carefully selected by someone from the Cheez-It company, not me).
Who are the Shriners, you might be wondering, and why do they have a parade? One website (here) calls them “The Ancient Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine,” which sounds like something hippies or celebrities would name a child (“but we’ll call him ‘Scott!'”). The Shriners are basically a philanthropic organization that you can only join if you’re at least 65 years old (not an official rule) and like to be seen in public driving cars that are much too small for you. Exhibit A:
Oh, and the hats. They all rock those ridiculous tall hats that look like the felt ‘n tassel version of a Kid ‘N Play hairdo:
The Shriners are, in fact, so serious about the hat situation, they even force their cars to wear them.
As for the parade, I actually have no idea why they have it. If you know, feel free to educate me. But I suspect it’s mainly to amuse me.
When we got to the parade, B.T. was quite good at waiting, for a two year old. He jumped around in the street, stood in front of other children and laughed maniacally (one of his budding social skills), took a rest on the concrete, ate a snack, rolled a Matchbox car around, and barked like a dog.
In that last photo, you can sort-of see the tired moaning on Baby Ham’s face, which is what he did the entirety of the parade. Except when a semi blew its horn, which inspired crying. He then lapsed into a very restful 5 minute nap.
The whole point of going to this parade is, as I mentioned above, the fat guys in little cars. Every time I see this, which has been more than once at this point, I can’t help but think of Tommy Boy.
Despite my extensive research on the Shriners for this blog (and by “extensive” I mean “5 minutes of Googling”), I still am unable to sort out exactly where the fondness for driving tiny vehicles comes from. There’s something completely ridiculous and a bit embarrassing about older men stuffing their guts into tiny cars made out of old bath tubs.
Maybe, in addition to attracting all the right ladies, the bathtubs serve as getaway vehicles from the creepy parade clowns.
That guy seriously stopped in front of me for like a solid 60 seconds when he saw that I was taking his photo. It was to the point where I began to wonder if he was trying to memorize my face so he could murder me later. Then there’s this one, which has to be one of the top ten most offensive parade items ever:
Many of you know how deeply I despise inflatable decor – especially those disgusting blow-up Santas and snowmen people insist on putting on their lawns during Christmas. Actually, I might get on board with them if I could find an inflatable Christmas meal to display. Like a giant inflatable ham with a bowl of mashed potatoes on my lawn. H yes!
I traditionally offer a specific finger to inflatables, but I managed to refrain on this occassion. Two year olds are like little sponges and I didn’t want B.T. to soak up any hand profanity and let it out at the supermarket or in front of my mother in law, when there weren’t even any inflatables around to offend.
Actually, the other day I was watching Say Yes to the Dress during lunch. I was having a stressful day alone with the kids, and looking at ladies trying on exorbitantly expensive wedding gowns was functioning as an alternative to crying. B.T. was silent for the first 20 minutes, then looked at me and said, quite definitively, “People have boobs.” His hand gesture and tone of voice was like what someone might use when making an important point during a business meeting. Meaning he has retained knowledge of both boobs and how to talk like a businessman.
Anyway, thank Jesus I heard about the Shriner’s Parade. It’s tough when you start to yen for fat guys in little cars and your needs just aren’t getting fulfilled. You know? Thank you, Ancient Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, for satisfying me for another year.