Considered one of the top 50 country fairs in the United States, Woonsocket, Rhode Island’s Autumnfest is a community-wide tradition that we look forward to every year. It culminates with a 10- division parade. For their entire lives my daughter and two sons have been attending or participating in this parade. When they were little, they sat on the sidewalk, hoping for candy to be tossed their way. One year, they got to ride in a float and be the ones tossing candy. They marched as Scouts, as ball players, and for many years, at least one of my children marched as part of their school band.
My daughter and her family have moved away—not too far away, but far enough that they aren’t regularly involved in the goings on of our home city. So, today was a special homecoming. It marked the first time my grandsons came to the parade. That the Autumnfest parade got to be their first parade was pretty special.
My newest grandson is only two months old, so my daughter held him in a wrap carrier, and put noise canceling headphones on him. For a good bit of the parade, he slept. His big brother, however, was VERY interested in every single thing. At almost 22-months-old, he has spent basically all of his life during the pandemic. He has not been many places yet. As we are just discovering, he is a natural-born extrovert who LOVES being around folks.
Before the parade made it down our part of the route, he was delighted in the people watching—kids, old folks, vendors—he enjoyed them all.
Then the police cars and fire engines came.
As you would expect, the noise of the sirens startled the baby. Not Big Bro, though. He LOVED IT. As my daughter joked, “He isn’t bothered by big noises. He IS a big noise!” (Anyone who has ever been roared at by my oldest grandson can attest to this.) Nope. He was not bothered by the sirens. He laughed, grinned, and waved at every car and truck.
Then for over an hour, he sat, swinging his feet, swaying to the music of the bands (and that super loud, super funky Puerto Rican Street Racing Car Club blasting reggaeton), having the time of his life.
It filled my heart to overflowing.
What is filling your heart this week?