Psychopomp Magazine Spring 2016 - Page 32

do at night after parade hours: we eat from the canned goods while we fix up the float with our frail nature and stick-um. If we don't get it done in the evenings, we have to start again early in the morning before we board again to hit our 9:00 a.m. start time.

The rule of the parade was that we don't take the same path twice. Really, they wanted us to eventually go to every town in our country but that would take years, especially at float speed. We had to go slow enough so people could visually appreciate our float and the other 49 floats as well. If we were to speed through at 50 m.p.h., what good would that do? Sometimes we didn't even know where we were. We tried to guess or someone would hold up a sign saying what town we were in or that they were someone's third of fourth cousin and we'd figure out backwards where we might be, but we really spent more time trying to figure out what a fourth cousin actually was.

Our float was called "Pride of the Country." An oil company sponsored it and we had to incorporate their logos in small decorations on the front. The rest of it was devoted to our theme. We tied together several images that represented pride in our country: our flag, industry (which was represented by an oil rig that spewed dyed-black flowers), a little white building which was a church, and several of us posing as an extended family. Mr. Merkin played the “father” of our family. He was in his 40s and balding. He wore wire glasses with wide lenses and was always clean-shaven. His “wife,” and our “mother,” was played by Amy, who was a plump, happy woman who always liked to sing underneath her breath while keeping busy. Amica and I pretended to be “sister and brother.” We had a younger ”sister,” Beth, who complained non-stop about things. The youngest, Ben, caused nothing but trouble, and despite the fact that we were not really related, I was expected to keep an eye on him.

At night, when we pulled the floats over to the side of whatever road

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