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Joan Knows: ‘Don’t you just love a parade?’

As the Harold Arlen song goes, “I love a parade!”

There is nothing quite as grand as the Rose Bowl parade each New Year’s day. I have been in Pasadena twice.  In the crisp early morning with the hopes for a Badger victory are still viable, there is much to be admired about the community-wide effort to design and build the floats and roll out the marching bands.

Here’s a tip. Never sit in an open grandstand and place your purse/valuables on the floor next to your feet. I lost my purse, game tickets and return railroad ticket to an opportunistic thief who was under the stands methodically picking off desirable items (according to the Pasadena police, who mailed my purse back to St. Charles with everything intact but the cash.)

Traveling on a student tour voided the need for tickets to the game and the long trail back to Madison on the “Schlitz Train,” so named to endorse that Milwaukee brewer for the free samples.

My first participation in a local parade was with my girl Scout troop with 21 buddies from Shelby School. It was a bit tough to stay in step as we dodged what the mounted faux Native Americans or, more precisely, what their horses dropped.

Does anyone recall a cold weather parade down Main Street in St. Charles way back when one float/truck representing St. Charles Lumber and Fuel featured the Big Bad Wolf? (FuFu the German Shepherd from The Oasis and a not smiling Red Riding Hood? The dog loved it. Not me.)

Back in those days when there was only one high school, many of my classmates were delighted to don the mostly black with orange highlights uniform and proudly follow Walter Best as if there were 76 trombones. Sadly many have departed to go marching in with those real saints up in the sky.

Has anyone thought of putting together an alumni old-timers band?

Now comes the Swedish Days wrap-up parade, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday, June 22.

There’s sunshine in the forecast so far.

Granddaughter Mazy and a whole bunch from Cheer Alliance in St. Charles were the 99th unit last year. Now, as the theme recognizes the 65-year tradition, units are placed according to decades and their group is in the ’60s category, moving them to the 75th unit. Watch for the VW bus “full of love.”

Cheer Alliance in St. Charles offers instruction and participation in competitive cheerleading. (They compete successfully at regional and national events.) Also available are tumbling, private instruction and a party room. For more information, call 630-587-2075.

From a proud grandma’s perspective the benefits include talented and safety conscious coaches, building teamwork, leadership and other positive values – and lots of fun!

Lea Minalga, the tireless and inspired leader of Hearts of Hope (known widely for assisting families who are battling narcotics addiction) reminds that their popular Hawaiian Shaved Ice concession is up and running near the site of the carnival. The cold treat is just the right touch now that we finally have June weather – and volunteers who wholeheartedly support Hearts of Hope will be appreciative of your support.

Finally, there has been a literal parade of wonderful people from our church (Baker Memorial United Methodist Church) offering prayers, visits and overwhelming support as our family struggles with multiple health issues. Thanks to Gina Armstrong and UMW colleagues and those fostering strong commitment to community outreach from the pulpit and from spirit-filled volunteers. Can’t wait to get back on my feet and march in that parade, too.

A special nod to my Grozis Transportation Authority buddy, cousin Jim Grozis. Jim and Barb are so often right there when a ride is needed. The service is on time and features good-looking drivers.

Back home now, I am experiencing mixed feelings as I observe how much Mister Z has done to rejuvenate the garden and the roses but can’t seem to find the right language for: “Slow down, buddy. You just had surgery!” 

If you see the zebra truck out getting critters or his slim, sweaty body bent over mulching or pruning – honk your horn and make a slow-down signal.

Don’t you just love a parade?

• Joan Arteberry is a longtime resident of St. Charles. Her columns are featured in the Kane County Chronicle’s Neighbors section every other Friday. Write to her at

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