I spent the first 16 years of my life trying desperately, loudly to escape Russellville, Arkansas. It’s not a particularly terrible town. In fact, lots of people really like it. But my teen angst kicked in with a strong dose of wanderlust. I took a circuitous route to end up about 75 miles down the road, married to a boy from Russellville. My father never tires of this irony. This weekend is Baby Daddy’s 20 year reunion at Russellville High School. It’s also Homecoming. It will be fabulous!
One thing my town does really well is Homecoming. There’s a parade and the game, lots of food. (It’s a dry county, so the booze is like a game of Where’s Waldo?) Almost everyone I know from home is always there. It’s really fun. I love that stinking parade. I was on a float every year. (And by float I mean flatbed trailer with hay bales, balloons and butcher paper painted as banners.) I threw candy from the float and regularly pegged kids in the head with peppermints. I said it was an accident. Once we misspelled the name of our school on the banner. It was not one of our finest moments.
The Homecoming Court wore ginormous mum corsages with ribbons down to their knees. There were pipe cleaners and glitter involved in the creation of those. Even if you weren’t on the court, your date to the dance was expected to bring a corsage. They too were often bigger than your face.
When the Maids and Homecoming Queen were announced at the game, they were escorted by their fathers and a brief bio was given of each girl. It was always interesting to see how many girls claimed to be members of the First Baptist Church, even though I’d never seen them there. It was the safe answer in that town. One family of daughters, who each took their turn on the court, was always announced as members of the Christian Science church. Their father was then identified as a physician. We are a whole town that loves irony.
Baby Daddy is refusing to be on the reunion float. He said he didn’t ride in the parade 20 years ago and he didn’t intend to start now. I have requested no corsage of any kind for this occasion. There’s really no need to relive all the memories. Some traditions can remain in the past.
I wondered out loud to some friends if it will really be as great as I remember. I haven’t been to the parade in well over 15 years. I worried seeing it now might ruin my fondness for it, like watching Dukes of Hazard reruns. They said it didn’t matter. What matters is I have happy memories from my growing up experience. But you can’t tell anyone from Russellville. I have to protect my street cred.