September 03, 2007

Unlike Anything in the Universe

Click to Mix and Solve

That is how the mistress of ceremonies introduced the beginning of the Labor Day Parade. I wouldn't go quite so far but, for the short time that I was there, it was entertaining. Definitely not supported by the white community. Only a few were in evidence aside from the mayor, fire and police chiefs, as well as members of the ROTC, band, and their family members in the crowd. There was a bandstand with judges, the drum line was on point, floats, a few vendors, and it was hot. The most entertaining thing that I saw were the members of the Masons from Memphis, Moolah Temple 54,with their mini-cars. Always a hit at a parade.

Well, well, well. More of "who you know" at work. The Rice Park Parade had as one of its marshalls, Deborah Tyus, a teacher in the middle school here in Ripley, very active in many organizations, a soror, AND, drum roll required, the daughter of Eva Drain, chair of the Board of Education. Whew, what a loooong sentence. But you get the drift. Now, I don't know if the connection played a part in her selection as marshall nor am I saying that it did (sounded that way, Missy). Just found it interesting.

Another interesting fact in the news article was the inclusion of her lineage: daughter of, granddaughter of. Wish my genealogical research would turn up gems like that. It would make the research so much easier.

The parade and festivities grew out of an African-American tradition known as "Homecoming Sunday," when Blacks who had migrated north returned to their hometowns during the fall of the year. As we waited for the parade to begin, the MC did a semi-roll call: Detroit? St. Louis? Chicago? I understand that in the early days, Riplians had W.C. Handy as an entertainer at the celebration. For those not familiar with "Homecoming Sunday," I found the following:

Homecoming has a rich tradition among many African American churches. During the great migrations of Blacks from the South to the North in the early 20th Century, Homecomings were the occasions when people reconnected with their rural roots. Those who were new to cities like Chicago, New York or Philadelphia, reunited with family and loved ones in such ancestral homes as Georgia, Alabama or Virginia. Many little churches in out of the way places loved cooking enough fried chicken and sweet potato pie to feed an army. The returning Northerners relished driving back home and showing off their brand new Buicks, Chevies or Cadillacs. These were great joyous, celebrative functions filled with nostalgia and the triumphant feeling of a family's success and upward mobility.

Although the great migrations ended decades ago and a reverse trend of Northerners returning to the quieter places of the South is a growing phenomenon. Homecoming for many churches remains a time of family reunion and reconnection. With many factors separating and dividing African Americans, Homecoming is a time to commemorate the wonderful traditions of African American families, shared by many.

I forgot to get the citation. I understand that after the parade, a day of picnics, pony rides, etc., would follow at the WG. L. Rice Memorial Park, donated to the African-American community by the Rice Family. Need to find out more about that. There is a Rice Park association. Need to find out about that, too. Have to check with my good friend, Eva. I had to cut the parade short because it was too hot for the kid even though I was hugging the shade in front of my favorite Realtors' office. And, my mouth was killing me.

Wow, the yard is filled with pecans. Too much work. I've got more than enough to do inside much less gather pecans. Obviously, the squirrels and others are having a field day by the looks of the half-eaten shells. So I guess I'll get busy raking. I understand the Farm Store will buy the nuts but I don't know the process. Do they have to be washed first? Bagged? So much to learn.

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