Last night, I had the pleasure of driving the 1075KZL Van in the High Point Holiday Parade. Yes, I said pleasure.
I don’t much care for parades and I haven’t attended one that I wasn’t involved with since the Farmer’s Day Parade in Union, West Virginia back in the late seventies. While we were piled into the Lively GMC van, my cousin Dan pointed at a rather large woman walking down the street and said, “Hey! There’s Farrah Fawcett in disguise!” And of course, there was uproarious laughter from all of us kids. She was a good distance away and I’m sure that she didn’t think the laughter was at her expense even if she heard it.
Then there was a time when I rode in a parade. I can’t really remember the specifics because there was a lot of underage drinking going on, but here’s my best recollection of the events.
Around the fourth of July, Dan’s parents took their annual camping trip to Moncove Lake outside of Gap Mills, WV. It was in the same county and I guess they did it just to enjoy the camping without venturing too far. I was up there and Dan thought that we could stay at the house to enjoy some frozen pizzas, beer, and late night television. His parents eventually agreed to let us do it.
The festivities began!
Dan and I picked up Sammy Caperton and brought him over. We had armloads of frozen pizzas and beer for the night. We settled down and Dan got the bright idea of taking a crayon and drawing a pair of glasses and a mustache dead center on the screen. That way, when they took a tight shot on Johnny Carson or one of his guests, it would make them look goofy and we’d be in fits of laughter.
Somewhere around midnight with pizza and beer filling our bellies and dulling our senses, there was someone pulling at the sliding glass door. Luckily, we had locked it so the person on the other side had to knock.
Immediately, the three of us sprang into action and rounded up all the beer out of the fridge and the empties out of the trash. We didn’t leave a bottle cap behind as we checked the counters for any strays. We didn’t care about the pizza or the condition of the kitchen because the booze had the priority.
The knocking became more persistent and accompanied by Uncle Malcolm’s voice yelling “Dan, Open this door!” That was Dan’s father and we KNEW that we weren’t supposed to have anyone over so, we rushed Sammy into Dan’s bedroom closet.
Dan and I caught our breath and he opened the door for Uncle Malcolm.
“Dan, why didn’t you open the door?” he asked with a little agitation.
And with a straight face, Dan answered back with “We thought you were a burglar.”
“Would a burglar call you by name, Dan?”
I don’t remember the rest of the conversation because I felt that it was a good time to leave because I couldn’t add anything to that type of genius thinking.
Uncle Malcolm had spent the day working and worked some more when he got to camp. He decided to come home because he wanted a decent shower or something before heading back out to camp the next morning.
Sammy spent the night in Dan’s closet with all of the beer, a flashlight, and a couple of Playboy magazines.
A guy named Steve Austin who had decided to stop by and see if we were interested in riding in his antique truck for the Alderson, WV Fourth of July Parade, awakened us the next morning. We quickly agreed and got dressed.
I remember the truck being brown and I remember that he was playing an 8-track tape of April Wine’s ‘Nature of the Beast’. It was easy to remember Steve Austin’s name because of the popularity of ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ television show at the time.
We rode in the back of Steve’s truck for the parade and waved our asses off. It was a great time!
Eventually, Dan and I made our way to the Lively camp that evening and Uncle Malcolm asked us this question…
“Why did Sammy sleep in the closet last night?”
We never did figure out how he knew Sammy was there and he never said anything about the beer. We knew deep down inside, Uncle Malcolm even knew about the beer, but he never let on.
As I was driving the KZL Van through the parade last night, those memories rushed back and I smiled and waved through the whole thing.