In the last month, I’ve had fantabulous trips to Seattle and to Costa Rica. But on my drive back from Santa Barbara this afternoon, I realized that today is my every other hump day blog post due date. Since I can’t give those trips their proper due, I shall submit to you an another kind of ‘trip’ I had last Saturday during the Pinedorado days of Cambria…
The theme of the parade was “Let Your Light Shine”. Being a New Orleans girl-at-heart, I costumed accordingly: Navy sequined tank top, blue crushed velvet pants, red sequined platform Converse tennis shoes, Mardi Gras beads, a disco ring-thing that illuminated flashing colors, and 50’s orange cat sunglasses. Parade ready.
I parked my motorcycle at the end of the West Village with intentions of walking a mile to the beginning of the route in the East Village to meet my former neighbor who was in town visiting. The morning air was light with festivity as I briskly walked up Main Street, hooting, hollering, and applauding in support to parade participants. When I reached our designated meeting place, my neighbor was nowhere to be seen. In the parade line, “dancing horses” proudly and methodically stepped and I watched their moves with delight and admiration. Behind them followed a John Deere mule with a Farmer’s Market sign perched in the back. The driver called out, “There’s an extra shovel if anyone wants to hop in. Be in the parade!”
After my quick-paced mile under the unusually warm sun for Cambria, I was sweating like a barnyard animal – a ride back to my motorcycle sounded pretty darn good. “May I?” I asked the driver. “Hop in,” he said.
Whoa…hold the horses! This was not a Farmer’s Market float. In my haste, I hadn’t noticed the cab full of poop until I jumped in. There was a reason he was positioned behind the steeds. “Oh man. You know I’m not going to shovel this stuff, right?” His name was Jeff; he was the manager for the local Farmer’s Market (hence the sign), as well as a former organizer of many Pinedorado parades. “No problem. You can still ride.”
After a few times of seeing him get down to business, I felt like some kind of prima donna just sitting there. I didn’t like it. So I got out, grabbed a shovel, and scooped. My technique lacked his flair — he scooped in one graceful swoop, I jarringly scraped pavement and my ‘load’ would fall of the end of the shovel and splatter about — but we developed a “schtick”. He’d say, “It’s not a glamorous job. But there’s extra shovel if you want to be in the parade.” And I would join in, “I thought I was just getting a free ride and now I’m an apprentice pooper scooper!”
I recently read that a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated. As we rolled by on our mule, folks on the curb responded with applause, waves and “thank yous’!” I remember smiling inside and thinking, “I’m shoveling fresh shit, and feeling All Right”.