Pioneer Days Parade 2018

Saturday of Pioneer Days in Twentynine Palms is our favorite day of the 3-day event.  Starting the day with pancakes at the fire station and then watching the parade is the best part about Pioneer Days.  What began as a novelty for our 2-year old son to have breakfast in the fire station on Adobe Road has become tradition for us.  We love arriving to the fire station and being served by the fire fighters and seeing the huge fire engines up close. For $16 our family of four can enjoy a great breakfast with other members of the community.

Our parade-viewing strategy this year is a little different.  After trying to view the parade on Adobe Road and baking in the sun, we decided that Twentynine Palms Highway may be a better choice.  We parked the car in the public parking behind Papa John’s Pizza and walked a few blocks to the fire station on Adobe Road to have breakfast.

Once our bellies were full of scrambled eggs, sausage, and pancakes from the firehouse we made our way to the parade route.  On the way there we saw the Jelly Donut beckoning to us like the sirens in Homer’s “Odyssey.” The highway was already closed for the parade but we looked both ways before we crossed anyway.  We were greeted with the wonderful smell of fresh donuts. Once armed with our donut bounty we crossed the highway again to the shaded curb and settled in to watch the parade while feasting on donuts.  Parade viewing is more pleasurable with a donut in one hand and a coffee in the other.

Now came the hard part – waiting patiently until the parade starts.  This is difficult for kids of all ages. We were close to the beginning of the parade route and could see them lining up into position.  The wait was unbearable. My daughter couldn’t wait any longer.

“Can I see what time it is?” She asked for at least the third time since we’ve sat down.

I plucked my cell phone out of my purse and handed it to her.  She looked at it.

“It’s 10 o’clock!” She announced.

No sooner had the words left her mouth that the police car at the beginning of the procession lit up it’s lights and blared it’s sirens.  We all jumped, startled at the blast of sound. The parade began to move forward. It started exactly on time.

On came the parade.  We all stood when the color guard came and men removed their hats.  What followed was a representation of the community’s best. The Marines were first.  They rolled down Twentynine Palms Highway in a big LAV-25, Humvee, and MTVR. These large armored vehicles were impressive up close.  I never appreciated their size passing by caravans of them while driving on the highway.

“Look honey,” said a young mother to her son, “Marines, just like daddy.”

Palm Vista Elementary school and Joshua Tree National Park had representatives in the parade.  The Kiwanis Club, the Fraternal Eagles, and the Twentynine Palms Historical Society were also there.  The Sky’s the Limit tossed hand fulls of small buttons into the crowd with their logo on it from a fancy convertible.  There were also people in the parade who want to be elected to serve the community in November.

Everyone was waving and smiling to those watching them along the street.  It’s so neat to see all different members of the community come together representing our city.

This year there was a ton of goodies that were passed out to the audience by those in the parade.  My kids got fliers from Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, American Heritage Girls, Trail Life USA, and two Fall festivals put on by local churches Halloween Night.  Each flier was accompanied by a piece of candy or two. The kids got so much candy that I commented that we wouldn’t have to go trick-or-treating this year.  My children looked up at me in horror not recognizing I was teasing them.

People walked up and down the parade route trying to sell things.  The kids looked longingly at the man selling cotton candy and novelty toys.  Other kids were lucky because their parents bought them bubble blowers and plastic noisemakers from the cart.  My children looked at the cart knowing they couldn’t have anything from it because they chose donuts instead. On his return trip, the man pushing the cart slowed down as he walked past my kids.  Smiling at them, he tempted them with the goodies hoping their mom would cave in and buy some pretty junk. I smiled back at him and he kept walking.

We saw my children’s coaches and classmates.  I saw my coworkers and students – both former and present.  We waved and said hello and got an occasional hug. It’s nice to feel part of the community.

The parade ended, as parades usually do, with emergency vehicles blasting their sirens.  Like “the wave” at a large stadium, People stood up and put away their folded chairs as the emergency vehicles passed them by.  My large mom-purse was filled with all the goodies that were handed out from the parade participants as we stood and packed up our things to leave.  

“We’re going to trade your candy in for a toy, sweetheart” said a mom to her young son.

“That’s a good idea,” I told her.  “Otherwise mom and dad would eat it, right?”

“Oh no.  It would go straight into the trash!” She replied.  

When we got home we dumped all the goodies on the kitchen table and separated the candy from the fliers they were taped to.  This candy isn’t going into the trash because I don’t have it in me to be wasteful. All that candy on the table wouldn’t fit in our candy jar.  So I asked my kids which ones they liked the least and I took those and set them aside to take to work. My high school students will appreciate them.  Throw away your own candy, as for me, I will save it to be appreciated by someone else.

Next year’s Pioneer Days Parade will be just as enjoyable.  Especially now that we know that the optimal viewing spot is on the highway.  We also know to bring a bag to carry all the goodies and fliers as the parade participants are very generous to kids.  Until next year, Twentynine Palms Parade!

The Paperback Bible

My Bible is falling apart.  The maps in the back fell out a few years ago and  I have scotch tape holding together pages. Some pages have scribbles on them from when my kids were toddlers.  The front cover is always bent open from my repeated opening it and the laminate is peeling off. The spine broke and now Psalms 118 to Proverbs 6 are unattached.  It has served me well for a $14.99 paperback bought at a Walmart 15 years ago.

The paperback Bible feels like an old friend.  I’ve referred to it often in the years that I’ve had it.  Looking at it reminds me of the love and faithfulness that God has shown me through various circumstances.  It was with me when my husband and I were separated. I had it with me when we were both jobless with a baby and another on the way.  In the paperback Bible I read that every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17) and rejoiced when he blessed us with a house. It’s familiar pages gave comfort as I was reminded of God’s love and his promises.  

There are lots of annotations throughout the paperback Bible.  It is a record of my thoughts and readings for the past 15 years.  I made a note of the scripture on the cross that’s in the hills above my parents house in Landers (Matthew 6:33) when they first moved there in 2004.  Martin Luther’s words on his deathbed were noted (Psalm 31:5) after I read a biography about him a couple of years ago. I noted the priestly benediction (Numbers 6:24-26) after I heard about it in a sermon about ten years ago.  I’ve memorized it and say it to my kids when I tuck them in bed. I’ve also noted how Psalm 66 and Psalm 100 both start out with the same verse. Corrie Ten Boom mentioned it in her book “The Hiding Place.” Have you ever heard of Psalm 166?  Psalm 66 and Psalm 100 both start the same, so together they are Psalm 166.

In the back of the paperback Bible I have notes written.  The lyrics to “I Surrender All” are written in the back of my Bible.  I heard Faith Hill sing them many years ago on “Oprah” and thought the hymn beautiful.  I wrote down scripture references that my pastor offered when I needed comfort and reassurance.  I recorded the date of my baptism along with the dates of when my husband and daughter accepted the Lord and when they were baptized.  There are also the dates of when we dedicated our kids to the Lord. Baptists must like to do baby dedications on Father’s Day as both kids were dedicated on that day by two different churches.

I learned of God’s love for me through the truths written in the paperback Bible.  It has only been the past year that I have used the paperback Bible’s cross-reference system.  Following the cross references of the Bible’s text taught me about the different contexts that the same phrase or words were used.  This has vastly enriched my Bible reading. I gave my first devotional out of the paperback Bible about worry. Look at the birds of the air and lilies of the field.  God provides for them, “. . . Are you not much more valuable than they?”

I’ve read my paperback Bible many times and each time I learn something new or see a verse in a different way.  The Bible is truly the living Word. But it’s not the paperback Bible that’s important that I keep intact. It’s important that I have the word of God.  My paperback Bible has been around me for a while but it is falling apart. It is passing away but the word of God will never pass away. I will be getting a new Bible soon to replace my paperback.  Rather be sad that I have to retire the paperback Bible I am excited to see what new truths the Lord will show me in his living Word.

The Lego Castle

“Mom, will you build a castle with me?”  My 7-year old son Logan asked.

His blond hair and blue eyes reminded me of another little boy about his age who asked me that same question about 25 years ago.  My heart squeezed and and I said “Yes, I’ll build a castle with you.”

I got up from the kitchen stool and went with Logan into the guest room at my parents house where the Legos were dumped all over the floor.  They crowded the floor, scattered among the displaced desk drawers and papers. My parents were remodeling this room. I sat on the floor close to the threshold of the room with the Legos before me.  Logan seated himself across from me with his back against the desk drawers. The Legos were spread between us.

My mom kept all the Legos her children played with.  The bricks before us were the same Legos that I played with when I was a girl.  I loved Legos back then and I had quite a collection. In the 1980s and 1990s Lego had pirate and castle lines and those were my favorites.  I had small island hideouts, little pirate row boats, and forrest men tree houses. The star of my collection was a large pirate ship complements of my grandparents for Christmas.  It was the best Christmas gift I ever got from them. It took me all morning and a few tears to put it together. The pirate ship had everything: a captain’s cabin, lots of firing cannons, a parrot and monkey, three tall masts with red and white striped fabric sails, and my favorite:  a female pirate. Back in the early 1990s there were not very many girl characters in the Lego sets.

My little brother added to the collection in the mid to late 1990s with his ninja sets.  Playing with Legos was something we had in common. My brother and I would sit companionably together building with Legos despite our 6-year age difference.   I know the purpose for each uniquely-made Lego block. I know from which set a piece was from and I remember how to use certain pieces for the greatest effect.  It’s like stepping back in time. The quantity of Legos has decreased slightly over recent years. Grandma lets Logan take his creations home sometimes.

I told Logan what pieces to find and I started to build the castle.  We found large doors; those had a special piece to clip them on to, where are they?  There’s one. Good, there’s another one, we’ll need two. Logan collected all the pieces that have the little arrow loops in them.  Those would be the castle walls. He also found a couple of pieces that looked like a bunch of logs fused together. They were about the same size as the arrow loop pieces and were from my little brother’s ninja sets.

Logan found all the accessories to go with a castle: helmets, bows and arrows, swords, cannon, flames, and shields.  His accessories were a mixture of pirates, forrest men and ninja. We worked companionably together on the castle. He finds pieces to use and I find a way to use them.

Logan asked “Can I go swimming?”

“Yes,” I responded.  “Chloe is already in the pool, Grandma’s watching her.”

Logan couldn’t stand the thought of his sister beating him back into the pool.  Everything was a race to those two. He got up and went outside.

Our castle wasn’t finished.  I continued to work on it. I added a second level, making sure everything is reinforced.  There’s nothing worse than placing a Lego guy on a brick and the structure collapses from the pressure.  I added another level and included places to insert the shields into the castle wall. I remembered doing that in one of my forest sets.  

As I build my Dad wandered over to the guest room.

“Reliving your childhood, huh?”  He smiled.

“I guess so” I replied, intent on my building.  Dad chuckled and left me to my work.

I finally finished the castle working alone.  It had two large doors, three levels, two shields in the outer wall, a cannon (Logan’s idea), and battlements.  I wondered why I finished the castle without Logan working with me. I knew Logan would really love the finished product and I had fun building the castle.  Even as an adult there is something satisfying in snapping bricks together.

But there was another reason I finished the castle without my son.  I finished it for that other blond-haired and blue-eyed little boy who asked me that same question 25 years ago: “Do you want to build a castle with me?”

My little brother asked that question repeatedly for a few weeks in the mid 1990s.  I was making my way out of the Lego stage. My pirate ship was dismantled and I was more interested in my friends and boys.  When my brother asked me if I would build a castle with him, I told him no. But he was persistent and kept asking. I kept telling him no.  I don’t remember if I finally acquiesced to building a Lego castle with my brother. I think I did but I don’t know how much of that is wishful thinking, hoping that I did the right thing by my brother.

There is a family resemblance between my son and brother.  So when Logan asked me “Mom, will you build a castle with me?”  I was transported in back time. It was almost like I was building a castle with my brother using the same Legos we would have used 25 years ago.