I used to go to a different tractor parade in Callicoon.
I had a few laughs, took a lot of pictures, and when the work was done had a few drinks.
Sunday I packed up my camera, finished raffle ticket sales for the Callicoon Sullivan Renaissance project and headed up to 27 Main Street to place my pizza order.
“Make it to go,” I told Kevin. “We’re headed home.”
I was exhausted.
It was the new tractor parade.
Or rather, the new me at the “good old” tractor parade.
I come to the parade not just as a reporter now but as a parent.
That means toting a stroller, keeping tabs on a sippy cup and the repeated repositioning of Elmo.
Fortunately Daddy does the brunt of the labor during the actual event, allowing me to weave in and out of the road snapping away with my camera.
There, the pictures I capture are unlike those I would have taken just two years ago.
I take special delight in the dads and daughters, the grandmas and grandsons.
I zoom in on cute t-shirts and pint-sized hands gripping tight to giant steering wheels.
The 11th tractor parade in Callicoon wasn’t just the longest I’ve seen or one filled with just as many strangers as neighbors and friends.
It was another learning experience for the self-proclaimed Callicoon Tractor Parade queen.
Professing my undying love for a tradition that’s both quirky and country, I assumed years ago that I “got it.”
The respect for farming, the sweet smell of diesel, the hilarity, the down-home togetherness.
Yeah, I got all that.
There were dozens of kids who ran up to me this year.
They tapped me on my thigh or yelled out “hey, Jillian’s mommy.”
I asked “whatcha doin?” and they all answered the same way.
Their already wide grins spreading toward their sunburned ears, they gave me that look that only a little kid can.
Pure pleasure mixed with disbelief that adults can ask such silly questions, they told me.
“Watching the tractors!!”
Elmo wasn’t coming, and Santa’s on vacation.
But the tractors were rolling, and the kids were bursting at the seams.
And when the day was done, our pizza stowed safely in the trunk, Jillian strapped into her carseat, we headed home.
Driving up past Roche’s Garage, we were slowed by two big farm machines, one driven by my uncle Bill, the other by my cousin Donald.
Even as a bad-mannered driver made a dangerous move out around the yellow line to buzz past, Jillian bounced in her seat clapping.
“Yaaaaay!” she said. “Trators! Billy! Trators!”
This was her tractor parade – and for a 2-year-old, there’s never too much of a good thing.
Kid’s eye view of the tractor parade
June 11, 2007 by 3 Comments