We began the evening by feasting on Macclenny delights at a little restaurant called "Taylor'D Cuisine, Catering, and BBQ." Ryan explained that many of the folks out there call the place "Taylor D's," which we all thought was pretty funny. We sat at the "Polar Bear" table, which is labeled as such with a white sheet of paper, explaining that "This is the coldest table in the place." hahah! This wasn't a real concern because the weather was just perfect, but I really love little hole-in-the-wall restaurants like that! The food was inexpensive, delicious, and the company even better.
After dinner, we headed on down to the parade. As we were walking up, I asked Nathan (a McWhorter child) what was the best part of the parade. He replied, "When the grandpas come out and drive around and around really fast!" hahah! I had no idea what he meant until I saw it with my own two eyes.
The parade began with fireworks, of which Aspen was not a fan. By the grace of God, she fell asleep amidst an onslaught of firetruck sirens (The parade is sponsored by the fire department.) and enjoyed the rest of the parade comfortably tucked away in Daddy's arms.
The following is a pictorial depiction of our Macclenny parade adventure!
Naturally, Ephraim began the parade in the tailgate of someone's truck. I still don't know exactly to whom truck belonged, but no one seemed to object!
This is Quincy and Ryan collaborating to ruin my picture of the float behind them. Nice work, guys.
Macclenny has really, really old fire engines. Weird.
Oh wait! There are new ones too! These babies were LOUD! Not only were their sirens blaring, but they did us the courtesy of also blasting the horn. Merry Christmas!
This is "The King," as in "The Burger King." That dude's even creepier looking in person.
Lots of folks were tossing out candy to the children. Ephraim declared this to be his favorite part. Who would have thought?.
This float was great. We were obviously "behind" it, but it had a Christmas tree/Santa/snowman thing in the front, a huge American flag in the middle, a nativity scene behind that, and wrapped it all up with a cross. Those folks really covered all the bases. Nicely done!
Macclenny apparently has a lot of princesses and queens. I think I counted 27.
Ephraim insisted that I photograph all of the "karate kids." He was really impressed with these folks.
I took this picture because the billboard said something really funny on it. I can't remember what it was, and it's a bit blurry in the picture. Oh well! If you have CSI technology and can read the fine print, remind me!
Santa made an appearance (or two).
...as did the reindeer.
This is how Macclenny rolls.
And so begins the "grandpas!" They were actually Shriners, and they had all sorts of crazy little vehicles, which they drove incredibly fast and precariously close to the toes of all the children lining the streets!
The pictures can't really convey the speed or fear for the toes of little ones that these fellas inspired, but it was pretty intense! Don't mess with the Shriners. Stay behind the line, or you WILL pay the fine.
I jest, but it really was a great time! I do love the small town feel and being able to just gather on the streets with total strangers who offer you their chairs because they see you are holding a baby. That's one of the things we "big city folk" really miss out on.
After the parade, we went back to the McWhorter plantation and enjoyed some good conversation, as Aspen tried to destroy their house and/or her head. Secretly, the "hanging out with friends" might have been my favorite part. Don't tell the McWhorters. I don't want them to get too proud. It would ruin them.
Here's my favorite thing about the parade, though. Ephraim has repeatedly said to me how awesome it was to celebrate God like that. He's asked when we can do fireworks for God again, and when we can celebrate Jesus' birthday with our friends and lights and fireworks again. I honestly don't know if I made a particular effort to emphasize this, but I love that even though he's young, he "gets it."
Merry Christmas, Macclenny and McWhorters! Thanks for having us!