Small towns have traditions. In Mapleton, Utah where we moved from, the fire trucks would circle around town at 6:30 a.m on July 24th with their sirens screeching. It was to wake everybody up for the Pioneer Day celebrations.
Here in Lander, Wyoming, they set off cannons at 6:00 AM! to commemorate Veterans Day.
Oh, how I love small towns.
I grew up in a small town: Preston, Idaho to be exact. Yes, home of Napoleon Dynamite. Only I lived outside of town. I was a country kid. See, in our small town there were city kids and country kids. You were a city kid if you lived in town. Our town had fewer than 5000 people. Hardly a city, but still we made that distinction.
We probably made it because we felt different. Our families were mostly farmers. We got up early, had chores, and listened to the commodities report on the radio. We went to church and high school basketball games. We never ate out. The most we could hope for was a stop at the gas station--the Will-0-way--where my Dad would buy a Mars bar and cut into seven equal pieces when we got home. About once a year, we'd get shakes at the Arctic Circle.
The city kids were different. Their Dads were bankers or salesmen or supervisors at factories. The city kids slept in on Saturdays, played golf, and shopped for school clothes in Salt Lake City. Their families owned their own VCRs. They ate chinese food and seafood and knew what they were going to be when they grew up.
We, too, had a small town tradition: Rodeo weekend. Rodeo weekend was big. A parade every night on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday followed by the rodeo. There was a carnival, too. You could see into the rodeo arena from the ferris wheel and you could hear the carnival noise from the rodeo stands. The rodeo grounds smelled like hamburgers, cigarette smoke, and cotton candy. I was a country kid, not a cowboy, so the rodeo was thrilling to me. I loved rodeo weekend. Even now, the thought of it fills me with memories and nostalgia.
Lying in bed, at 6 a.m. with cannons going off every 20 seconds, I thought how a rodeo and a parade and a carnival are really the perfect small-town tradition.
Mostly because nobody wakes you up.