The more things stay the same
As I write this column Tuesday morning, the parade is on my mind. At about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, all along Fourth Street, parade viewers will bring their lawn chairs and set up camp.
For small towns across America, the parade is not just a 30-minute showing of fancy floats, horses, children on bikes, firetrucks, clowns, tractors and politicians throwing candy to children.
The parade the annual Leavenworth County Fair parade held in Tonganoxie each year is one thing that never seems to change.
No matter what models of cars are in the parade, no matter who's riding what horse, no matter which float or bike wins the best-decorated prize, no matter which beauty queen waves from the back of a convertible, from year to year, the parade just doesn't change.
Perhaps that's because basically, we don't change.
The world around us changes, yes. We have computers in our homes we didn't dream of 20 years ago. We carry our telephones in our shirt pockets. We zap our meals in the microwave oven. And we use the remote to zip our way through the 60-something stations offered on our televisions.
But deep inside, where it counts, we're still the same. And even in the face of all the "progress" we've made, our lives are remarkably still very much the same.
For instance, other than the heat, it doesn't matter much if we're cooking dinner on a wood-burning cookstove (and yes I've done that plenty of times), or if we're surrounded by the best of modern appliances and conveniences.
In the end, we've done our work, we've satisfied our appetites and we've cleaned the kitchen.
Things are actually pretty basic, you know. And when you think about it, our lives are really not that much different from the lives of our grandparents and great-grandparents, of those who got an earlier start in helping make this country what it is today.
The basics of life working, taking care of ourselves and our families, loving and laughing even as we muddle along from day to day, trying to live up to the values that are important in our lives are much the same as always.
It's always been that way, and Lord willing, it will stay that way.
Perhaps that's why the Leavenworth County Fair parade that makes its way up Fourth Street each and every year, and why the crowds who, each and every year forego other activities to watch, symbolize so much of who and what we are today.
In the end, in the whole of life, it's the little things that matter.
It's the basics it's the things we can depend on, the things we know can never really veer far from what they were, from what they are and from what they were meant to be that count.