Floats and Old Guys

By Beacon Staff

Friday night at Columbia Falls Night of Lights parade, I drove the Rotary Club of Columbia Falls’ float.

I use the term “float” very loosely.

You might say we could use some new members – maybe even some with float design skills. If that’s you, the Rotary in CFalls meets at noon on Wednesdays at the Back Room. But I digress…

Anytime you can parade (literally) a sign advertising your event happening the next day in front of the whole town – you’ll do it, even if your float is pathetic. Remember, the Brunch funds a bunch of good projects in Columbia Falls.

This year’s float was an improvement from our first effort. Last year we blew an inverter during parade line up. Rather than go dark, we ran an extension cord from the float in front of us back to our vehicle so we could light our lights. One of our members walked along between the vehicles carrying the cord so it wouldn’t drag on the road or get tangled in the wheels and such. Please don’t laugh at us. We mean well.

When the parade started last night, I slid into the third or fourth slot from the front so I could get done early. I wanted to finish near the front so I could come back to take some pictures as a favor for a friend.

Like most overcast evenings in the winter, the light was horrid from a photography perspective. The sky was dark and overcast. What light there was came primarily from yellowish street lights. It was nothing too unusual, just a typical 7pm winter evening on Nucleus Avenue, photography-wise. I knew in advance that it would be dicey to get a good photo, but a favor is a favor.

The friend who asked for the photo wanted one of the float entered by one of his best clients, a construction firm in town. They help out my boys in the Scout troop when they need a big hole dug (or filled) for an Eagle Scout project. Needless to say, I was glad to help out.

After standing in the road for a while watching the floats go by, I stepped out a little to get a better angle when the construction float finally showed up.

A young man behind me and to the side a bit put his hand on my shoulder and pulled me back a little, very gently. He said something that I didn’t quite catch, as I was focused on the parade. His mom said he was worried that I was going to get hit.

Despite all the distractions from all the cool parade stuff cruising by on floats, wheels or on foot, this young man – who happens to look a little “different” from you and I – was watching out for the safety of some old guy standing in the road with a camera.

Horses. Four wheel drive mud boggers climbing on each others’ mudders. Pretty girls. Cute kids. Two mountain goats. A really pathetic Rotary float. A giant lighted snowman. The Flintstones. Fire engines. Antique cars and trucks. Santa. And an observant young man.

Night of Lights always finds a way to be special.

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