One of the Alaska Shriners waves to the crowd during the 2019 July 4th parade in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

One of the Alaska Shriners waves to the crowd during the 2019 July 4th parade in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Life in the Pedestrian Lane: My fifteen minutes …

Hubby and I were pleased to be asked to participate in the Fourth of July parade.

  • Saturday, August 3, 2019 8:01pm
  • Life

Hubby and I were pleased to be asked to participate in the Fourth of July parade by riding in the Kenai Historical Society vehicle. We only had to ‘”be there” they said so I donned my big red straw hat and he his suspenders and black farmer’s hat and we went to find our ride, which proved to be a 1946 Chevrolet pickup painted a nice sunshine yellow with Kenai Historical Society banners on each side. It was attracting attention as we stood waiting, so I thought this is a shoo-in! Built in celebrity!

A candy-apple red 1956 Studebaker pickup was immediately ahead of us in the parade. It was a beauty! I visited with the owner briefly and she was very proud of her vehicle. It had been her dream for awhile, partly because she had been born in 1956. The parade was its first public journey, and she was excited. Her passengers were the Miss U.S. Agriculture Royalty: three young ladies in long dresses and tiaras. They practiced their ‘royal wave’ while we waited to begin.

Digression: When I was a teenager and the boys I knew were car crazy, candy-apple red was THE color to aim for. Vintage cars then were anything before 1940 and usually a coupe (Remember “Little Deuce Coupe?”). The guys would spend more hours primping their cars than they ever did driving. That special shine could only be attained by very vigorous buffing. They would whisper among themselves that the best and only way to achieve “the glow” was to raid mom’s closet and filch a sanitary napkin to use, glancing sideways at any female passengers, hoping we had overheard, but blushing if we did. And we would ooh and ahh at the beautiful shiny red and ask them how they did it, only to make them blush again.

The parade began more or less on time with the police car ahead, lights twirling and a couple of siren bursts. We pulled out of Trading Bay, turned left on Main Street Loop to eventually make our way past the Post Office to Willow Street. It was on Bidarka Street between the old courthouse and the day care that things changed. The Studebaker broke!

Everything stopped except the leaders. The men all jumped out of their rigs and ran to assess the problem that very soon was determined to be unfixable at the moment. They pushed the Studebaker to the side of the road so the parade could proceed.

What to do with the Agriculture Royalty? Why, jump into the next ride, of course, which was us old Fogies representing the Historical Society. Long dresses hitched to their knees and tiaras bouncing they jumped over the red tailgate, ran across the pavement in their bare feet (they’d removed their shoes in deference to the shiny flooring in the bed of the Studebaker) and climbed over the tailgate in our ride and settled easily into the yellow pickup, adjusting their skirts and their hair as they settled. A-h-h-h youth!

Turns out they really were Royalty! The young lady from Homer had just returned from representing Alaska at the National Miss U.S. Agriculture Pageant in Orlando, where she brought back the national Queen Miss award, a coup for our state. With her was Alaska’s Ms U.S. Agriculture from Soldotna and one of her princesses. They had also gone to Orlando. Alaska had been well-represented in Florida. The Miss U.S. Agriculture is less a beauty pageant, although these representatives were all that, and leans more toward educating the public about the necessity of agriculture to our society. Our parade was a fun thing in an upcoming year of seminars and speeches to forward awareness of the dependence civilization has on agriculture.

So Hubby and I — in our chairs against the cab, and three bright, colorful young ladies at the tailgate waving and smiling —took our place as first truck. Ahead of us was an energetic dance troupe; more of the Kaknu Krusers vintage vehicles followed. Needless to say, dynamics had changed.

We smiled and waved, as did the Royalty. We hadn’t practiced our royal wave, but came through without carpal tunnel pain. Everyone will remember Fourth of July, 2019 as the hottest on record, I’m sure. We were very happy for our hats as the sun beat down like never before on a parade in Kenai.

I’m not sure anyone noticed the old guys in the yellow Chevy. They probably wondered why the Agriculture Queens were in the Historical Society vehicle, as the banners on the side of the bed proclaimed. Our fifteen minutes of fame lasted about that, although we were recognized by a few friends along the way, and family waved and cheered, and pointed questioningly at our passengers.

That night when I brought up Facebook for a look at the parade, there was the yellow pickup, front and center with the caption “Agriculture Royalty Ride.” Fifteen minutes might be stretching it a little!


• By VIRGINIA WALTERS for the Peninsula Clarion


More in Life

Walter and Beverly Christensen are shown in a newspaper photo in their Clam Gulch store and post office, probably in the 1960s. (Photo provided by Mona Painter)
From Nomadic Life to Stability

The Journey of Beverly Christensen — Part 3

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: The Wheels on the Bus …

It doesn’t seem that the powers that be — medical or political — have learned from past experience.

Ed Haun entertains tourists w saw—In this 1972 photo, 87-year-old Ed Haun entertains tourists on his porch with musical abilities on a handsaw. (Courtesy of the Hope and Sunrise Historical Society)
How ‘Red Hat’ fits in

How the life of a man long since dead has jarred loose and clarified a nearly 50-year-old memory.

File
An overwhelming confidence

Are you overwhelmed by huge obstacles? Consider God: His character, provision and promises.

Pratt Museum Curator Savanna Bradley discusses “Entangled: Exploring Natural History Collections from Kachemak Bay,” on July 13, 2020, at the Pratt Museum in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Pratt Museum unveils new ‘Entangled’ exhibit

Last month, the Pratt Museum reopened on a scaled-back basis with its… Continue reading

A bag full of fresh broccoli is seen in the author’s kitchen in Anchorage, Alaska, in August 2020. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: A tote bag of broccoli

The broccoli had this perfect crunchy texture that paired really well with the gooey melted cheese.

Ingredients for Farmers Market Pasta Salad are photographed in Homer, Alaska, in July 2020. (Photo by Teri Robl/Homer News)
Kachemak Cuisine: Summer is for salmon and sweets

There’s nothing better than fresh anything.

File
Minister’s Message: The hand of God shapes us into beauty

God is expertly working for those who love him to bring about good in us.

Most Read