Family time and holiday parades

My Sassy Saint was in the city Fourth of July parade, and – for once – it went smoothly.

I tried to get Sass’ attention as she marched by, but she kept eyes front. Apparently, they’re not supposed to acknowledge people during a performance. Unless someone tries cutting through the band to cross the street.

“Band Director says, if someone walks into our unit while we’re marching, we should hit them with our horn and march over them,” Sass said.

Band Director was kidding.

I think.

Although, it is rude to cut through them. I couldn’t believe there really were people who couldn’t wait a minute for a parade unit to pass. Unless a toddler is about to be crushed by a marching band, there’s no reason to be out there.

Since the Weirton parade was in the morning, and Wellsburg’s parade was that evening and my sister, Foo-Dog, and her youngest, the Hellion, were going to march, we went down river. Her oldest boy, the Heathenish, also had an opportunity to march, but decided he’d rather watch – and collect candy.

Since they all brought back bulging bagfuls of candy, it was a success. I don’t remember being so fervent about collecting candy. Heathenish and the Professor were grubbing in the gutter and throwing elbows. It was guerrilla warfare. They returned to my parents’ house with filthy hands.

“Don’t you dare eat a piece of candy until you’ve had a chance to scrub your hands,” I warned them.

And I had thought it was strange the city had the street sweeper out before the parade. It seems mine aren’t the only kids who don’t mind a little grit with their Double Bubble.

Sass, who is nearly a high schooler now, was above such trifle concerns.

“I’m collecting candy for Hellion,” she said. “Since he’s not here to get any.”

She threw nary an elbow and returned to Grandmama and Grampy Grumpy’s with pristine hands. Yet, the bag she collected for Hellion was nearly as big as the boys’ bags. Funny what can be accomplished when you’re not clawing each other’s eyes out over a lollipop.

However, the boys didn’t embarrass me. They’re kids. It’s candy. It’s a parade. It’s to be expected.

Grandmama embarrassed me.

She’s old enough to know better, but Grandmama loves Tootsie Rolls. Love isn’t even the right word; madness is a better description.

A Tootsie Roll hits the pavement, and she forgets about her bad hip. She would step over a full-sized candy bar to pick up a handful of Tootsie Rolls. I’ve seen her make gold medal-worthy dives to save a single Tootsie Roll from under the wheels of convertibles.

There’s nothing Grandmama wouldn’t do for a Tootsie Roll.

Not even staying out of the middle of a marching unit. Yes, she ran into a group for a handful of Tootsie Rolls. A small handful.

“Grandmama!” Sass said, shocked. “You’re not supposed to do that!”

“You should just be glad it’s dancers,” I said. “Otherwise, Grandmama would’ve been clocked with a French horn.”

And it would have served her right.

(Wallace-Minger, The Weirton Daily Times community editor, is a Weirton resident and can be contacted at