Life With Ferris: The Beauty Of A Parade

  • Monday, June 24, 2024
  • Ferris Robinson
Ferris Robinson
Ferris Robinson

Reprinted from 2020

Who doesn’t love a parade? Even at my age and despite the fact that I no longer scramble on the sidewalk for candy (at least if folks are watching me), when I hear the sirens on the morning of July 4, I know the parade is underway on Lookout Mountain and it’s time for me to zip down the path to the four-way stop and join the crowd on the street for the festivities. My granddaughter Mary Jane has been to three parades and comes home hot and sticky and clutching fistfuls of suckers. It’s almost as much of a highpoint as Halloween.

I grew up in a small town, Jasper, Tn., and the parades were a real treat. They occurred every Friday afternoon before the home football games, and I had the perfect vantage point from my grandmother’s front porch. The floats were decorated to the hilt, with massive tissue paper pompoms and movie star-like cheerleaders and Warriors painted purple and white with what was probably not body paint.

My siblings and I anticipated the parades the same way we looked forward to Christmas, counting the days and hoping for goodies. But mainly I imagined myself perched on a fluffy float and waving to the adoring crowds.

I finally got to be in a parade a few years ago, along with the Mountain Mirror gals Lucia Hopper and Farell McGinness, and my little dog, Vic. Watching from the sidelines so she could cover the story, Gwin Tugman blended in with the crowd for once in her life, barely noticeable in a patriotic spangled oversized top hat, sparkly star earrings, and Forth of July sweater and sunglasses. We couldn’t have had any more fun, and waving at scores of smiling faces as we travelled slowly down Lula Lake Road to the Commons made me plain happy.

Signal Mountain also has a whopper of a parade, as do so many communities, and Chattanooga as a whole. This year, July 4, 2020, will be different. Most of these patriotic celebrations have been cancelled due to COVID-19, and the ones that haven’t been will no doubt be different, with social distancing in place.

The 4th of July parade on Lookout Mountain put my childhood parades to shame. Unicycles, bicycles, motorcycles, bands, golf carts, horses, food trucks and more red white and blue than I’d ever seen in my life makes this parade a grand affair. But the feeling was the same. There’s something truly special about a community coming together as one, donning the same sort of apparel, and having an absolute ball. Being all in, either dressing up as Uncle Sam and riding a unicycle or waving from the sidewalk, unifies us.

And in this time of distance, I know I will never, ever take the Fourth of July parade for granted.

* * *

Ferris Robinson is the author of two children's books, "The Queen Who Banished Bugs" and "The Queen Who Accidentally Banished Birds," in her pollinator series, with "Call Me Arthropod" coming soon. "Making Arrangements" is her first novel, and "Dogs and Love - Stories of Fidelity" is a collection of true tales about man's best friend. Her website is She is the editor of The Lookout Mountain Mirror and The Signal Mountain Mirror.

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