Posted in Lessons Learned

It Was Grand!

Yesterday was a Granddaughter 4th of July.  My oldest Granddaughter, Kali joined us for the parade in the tiny Iowa town of Scarville.  As usual the main street was lined with fluttering flags, lawn chairs and blankets.  Many times I’ve had to got to a parade route and stake my seating claim an hour or more ahead of the parade start time.  But not in Scarville.  We arrived about 30 minutes before hand and found lovely viewing spot front and center on Main Street.  With only ten minutes to spare, the sidewalks began filling in with the locals.  Since we had so much time to spare, Kali and I walked across the street to the city park where there was a flea market, a band stage and burgers and brats were being grilled for the city-wide BBQ.  Kali spent several minutes flying high on the swings  Her main purpose was to keep watch over grandpa who was busy searching for the donuts I had packed.  Once I thought it was a squeal of delight coming from my air-born granddaughter enjoying her highest push ever.  But, nope.. from her eagle eye view, she spied that grandpa had located the donuts and was happily munching away.  She was however soothed when she also found a lemonade stand and was lucky enough to score a freezie pop. Main Street Scarville consists of about five blocks.  Two blocks were used for parade line up.  The other three blocks were filled with red white and blue spectators full of patriotic anticipation.  Then it happened, the Sheriff vehicles turned on their flashing lights. The parade had officially begun!  Everyone rose for the color guard and the VFW Float.  Kali spent the bulk of the parade collecting the nearly five pounds of candy thrown near us, at us, over us and around us.  Yes, five pounds.  That was what we took home.  Kali, Hunter and Grandpa should have all been weighed before we were allowed to leave town.  I’m certain they had eaten their fill of tootsie rolls, smarties, carmels, and dum-dum pops. We went back to the farm to regroup and de-toxify from the sugar overload, before we stopped in to visit our newest granddaughter, Sage.  For the next two hours, that littlest member of our family was loved to pieces.  Earlier in the day she had an upset tummy.  I’m certain it was all of the hugs and kissed she received from Kali and Hunter and yes, Grandma.. that made her feel better.  (That and the enormous burp she had that didn’t disturb her slumber in the least.)  It did however, rate a chuckle from the rest of us. Kali and I used the in-between time to “do” our nails.  Bravely, I had Kali choose our colors.  She chose a Fuschia Pink and for me Fire Engine Red and Sparkles “cause it IS the 4th of July”.   I applied the polish to her petite little fingers.  Once dry, I added the layer of sparkles that completely thrilled her.  Her simple joy filled my heart.  She watched closely, inspecting each of my nails for mistakes, ie..” coloring outside the lines”.  Of course there was a layer of sparkles added to my nails too.  Once I had passed the eagle-eye test, we were all set for the next adventure of the day. It was around 4:00 when Hunter and Grandpa began to round up the racing gear.  My son and new daddy, Nick joined us all at the races.  It was a special for the 4th of July.  Kali and I gathered our quilt and jackets so that we could be the cheerleaders from the stands.  Nick was going to help out in the pit area.  When we arrived at the track, the usual crowd was gathering.  After a few times, you see a lot of familiar faces.  Other parents, friends, relatives and sponsors of the racers.  The food stand had its regular fare, grilled burgers and hotdogs, pork tenderloins, chicken strips and cheddar cheese balls, (Kali’s favorite). The Hancock County Speedway in Britt Iowa hosts a dirt track.  The water truck is usually spraying the track as we’re arriving  Then the racers get to warm things up by driving the water soaked track and flinging mud wads high up in the air and on each other.   This evening its still sunny and the wind is blowing up in the stands.  Kali and I fold and lay the quilt on the bleacher bench to soften our seats. Kali dips one cheeseball at a time into a pile of ketchup, happily munching away.  She licks her fuschia fingers between each nibble. The race announcer begins his narration over the loud speakers as the drivers line up for the hot laps to  begin.  If you’re an unseasoned race fan, as I was until Hunter began driving last year… hot laps are an opportunity for the drivers to warm up.  Both their cars and their competitive juices.  Each class of race cars has their warm up and then the actual races begin. Let me tell ya.  There were a lot of drivers last night.  The usual roar of car engines is loud enough, but for this race the track is filled.  The roar was turned up a few notches.  Not a word that the announcer was saying could be heard.  And with more cars on the track the competition becomes more intense.  Kali and I were sitting next to each other and could not hear a word the other was saying. Hunter’s class this year is the Sport Compact class.  He is the youngest driver in the class and until he’s 14 he can’t compete for points.  But since he won his class last year, they have let him continue to race.  He will have two years for experience building.  Not a bad thing at all. Hunter’s group lines up and they drive a warm up lap as drivers get into position.  Then as they round into turn 3, you can hear the engines at ready.  Then they floor it!  For some reason, turns 3 and 4 are always sort of slippery.. as if the track there has a layer of grease mixed into the dirt/mud.  There are always cars sliding around these turns.  And if they slide just a bit too far in any direction, they either spin out going into the center of the track or into each other causing pile ups.  I hold my breath every time Hunter enters these turns.  He’s a very good driver for a 12-year-old.  He’s maneuvered through pile ups without a scratch.  He’s even spun out a few times but always manages to keep himself on the track. Class after class take their turns.  And groups of spectators/fans become engaged as ‘their’ favorite racers line up.  I enjoy watching the crowd as much as the races.  You can tell who are the moms and girlfriends because they always have a bit of apprehension to their cheering.  The dads and friends of the racers however are yelling and waving their arms. Before long my nephew is lining up for his race.  He runs in the Sport Modified Class.  He’s been racing for three years in this class.  It has a lot of heady competition and tonight is the National Championship.  They will do 25 laps.  My nephew was in first place with quite a lead ahead of the other driver for 17 laps.  Then someone lost control in turn 3 and there was a pile up.  The yellow flag comes out and the drivers reduce their speeds until the pile up is cleared.  Some drivers are able to return to the race, but others have too much damage to their cars and can’t continue. The racers have to line up in the order they were in before the pile up.. but, they are lined up in a group.  No lead space.  My nephew begins in the first place position but has to work to regain his lead space.  The green flag is waved and the engines roar with power.  There is a hefty cash prize for this race.  And they all want it. My nephew remains in first place but now has a hearty competitor on his tail. Not one lap is completed and there is another pile up.  Repeat the yellow flag, track clearing of debris and drivers  line up again.  No lead space again.  You can feel the tension in the crowd.  Kali was even getting excited and stood up on the bleacher seat to see better.  Drivers, heated, competition fierce, my nephew remained in first place.  Finishing the race and claiming the prize.  Lots of excitement in the pit area!  He took home a beautiful trophy.  And before the night’s end, I took home a sleepy granddaughter.  What a grand day it’s been!  

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