Days of festivals and parades are supposed to be fun.  Like my cat, who is disturbed by the noise, I stay in a back part of the house so as to be less affected by Lumberjack Days.
 
As I worked in my office, it occurred to me that there was only one “kind of” happy parade day experience for me here.  It would have been a perfect day had it not been for the upset from the night before with someone who couldn’t remember an agreement he had made with me after blowing off our 4th of July holiday plans that year and scheduling something else in conflict.  Of course, he didn’t inform me of this until all my other friends had plans of their own…   
 
It was always about what he wanted to have and, no matter how much I gave him, it wasn’t ever enough.  This is a Narcissist’s claim to fame, so I later learned.

 


 
Even though he had thanked me in writing for being flexible about the mixup a couple weeks before, he behaved belligerently the night before the parade.  His tyrade took all the fun out of the pre-party preparations as he criticized me and complained about my expectation that he would hold to his end of the bargain.  At the time, I had no way of knowing this was to be the beginning of a long cycle of emotional abuse that he had groomed me for through years of covertly hostile and supressive tactics that weakened me into accepting what he would give rather than demanding that he take responsibility for the agreements we made. 
 
I do have some pleasant memories from that party, however.  My mother’s brilliant smile and easy laughter, in the last year of her life, as she happily clapped her hands and exuded joy about the parade even though she couldn’t see due to her blindness.  His dapper father, who always wore a top coat and vest, enjoying the parade in the shade on my porch and slipping into the house for a nap later on when he thought no one would notice.  Retrieving a t-shirt for his frantic mother to cloak the nakedness of the grandson she wouldn’t claim as her own.  And slipping to the patio in the back of my house with the man I truly loved, in spite of his dark spots, to monitor the grill and sneak cigarettes where his mother couldn’t see.  Finally, Alissa … his beautiful grandaughter who was my fun friend.
 
This year, I looked out the door and noticed a frightened little boy who was disturbed and crying about the noisy sirens and motorcycles.  I went out to make his acquaintance and learned his name was Cole.  I offered him a bottle of bubbles and a bubble maker which were left over from that party that I had stowed in a blue and white checkered tote bag that Alissa left behind at my house on the day of her 1st Grade Picnic.  The smile on Cole’s face when he saw my gift brought a bright light and joy to me today.
 
It is quiet again and another chapter of my life is finished.  Lumberjack Days Parades on Laurel street are done are done for me for I will be gone before the next one comes around.  When I leave this house, I will pray that a happy family with little children are in it next year. This beautiful old house deserves to have the laughter of children and the joy of Love within it again.