July 8, 2012

Clear Lake Iowa's Fourth of July Parade 2012

Clear Lake Iowa's Fourth of July Parade 2012
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for July 4, 2012

When you're in Clear Lake, Iowa on the 4th of July and a couple of fighter jets fly over in formation, it can only mean one thing.  The parade is about to begin!

We were lucky enough to march in the parade again this year in support of JDRF.  The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes research and our good friends, the Hornbuckle Clan, do all sorts of things to help support the organization.  And since we like to do all sorts of things to support the Hornbuckles, this just seemed to be a great fit for us.

Vickie Hornbuckle organizes the parade float and when I hadn't heard from her by July 1st, I kind of went into a panic and started hammering her phone for answers.  I needed to know "Would it be OK if we joined them again this year?"  I kind of have an addiction for walking down the street in front of people and having them look at me.    By the time I reached her on the phone, I'm sure my Parade Withdrawal Symptoms were pretty evident, but Vickie took my rambling rantings in stride and told me of course we were welcome to join them again.  Thank goodness for that, else I may have had to start walking down some other streets where parades weren't even happening.  That could have led to all sorts of trouble.

Luke and Avery were pumped up to be part of the action.  Of course, any time there's teen-aged girls in the vicinity, they're pretty pumped up to be there.

Lucky for them, their father isn't that way.  Other than my beautiful wife, Miss Sheri, I hardly ever even notice the difference between men or women in the vicinity.  Normally I wouldn't even take a break from decorating the float to get pictures with cheerleaders, but these girls were from the University of Northern Iowa.  UNI is my Alma Mater as well as Jason's.  I could just sense they were dying to have their pictures taken with a couple of cute alumni like us.  
God Bless Those Girls!

This year we got to hand out icees to the crowd which was very popular since the temperature hit something like 140 degrees.  Walking back and forth to get refills of supplies was a bit of a challenge, though.  My body isn't used to moving that much in that kind of heat and eventually started expelling so much perspiration that I'm sure I had to be adding some extra flavoring to the treats.  Nobody complained, though.

Luke wasn't quite as prepared for the aggressive crowd as I was.  He said some people were downright nasty to him when he didn't tear apart the frozen goodies quickly enough or when his bucket went empty and he had to miss someone.  He said one lady even came up to him and demanded 5 icees and when he didn't know how to respond, she just reached into his supply and grabbed them.   But I guess when it's a hot day and you're the guy with the icees, you're bound to be popular.  

My favorite part of going back and being in the Clear Lake Parade is getting to see all sorts of old friends in the audience.  Like my sister in law's sister, Michelle Hahn.  

Some old friends like Mavis really looked patriotic.  She made me Proud to be an American!!!   Also making me Proud to be an American?  The float behind us that played that song 7 times very loud while we walked the mile and a half long route!  I think I know all the words now.

It was also neat to see Mary and some of the Barragy Boys.  Although I don't think she knew what I meant when I said I was going to have Miss Sheri take our picture!

So when I looked at Facebook later that week, I saw Chad Hornbuckle had posted the following:

"I'm a little irritated! I watched a news clip today about a man being allowed to go to the Olympics and race. The thing is he had a bilateral amputation done on his legs like mine. He uses two carbon fiber prosthetics, which in my book, I will be rooting him on! The problem is that some of the other athletes and coaches are contending that he has an unfair advantage!?!? Really? Are people that stupid? Did any of you see me in the parade the other day? Did you notice I was at the back of our group? That's because I didn't want to use the advantage my amputations give me to get ahead of everyone else! Advantage, kiss my ass!"

I commented to Chad on Facebook that I thought he had an unfair advantage during the parade and he still didn't agree with me.  Since he can be seen here clearly kicking my butt in the parade race, I think that my feelings are more than justified.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, there's no place in the world that's better than Clear Lake, Iowa on the 4th of July.  I sure do love that place!


  1. Hey Todd, my wife thanks you for supporting JDRF. She has been diabetic since age 11.


  2. You bet, Tom!! It's a great organization!!