Monday, July 5, 2010

Old Glory

I married into a creative family. Mother-in-law is an awesome seamstress (from quilts to drapes to clothing to handbags). Father-in-law works with wood, restores antiques, and builds model boats. Sister-in-law April has worked in interior design, dabbled in paper making and is now a fabulous chef. Sister-in-law Kari is a landscape designer and gourmet baker in her own right. Brother-in-law Cody is an engineer. Husband Jeff is an architect and artist. I, well, I'm a dabbler in anything with fabric, glue, construction paper, pipe cleaners -- whatever -- so I fit in. People always tell us that we should somehow go into business together, but one of the only times we have all truly collaborated recently is on our entry for the Balboa Peninsula's annual Fourth of July parade float.

Our rewards have been slim (I think one year we won twenty bucks for a local burger joint, and another year five dollars towards ice cream). But we're still basking in the glory of our accomplishments. This year, half of the Anderson family was away for a wedding, so it was the first in several years that were absent from the event, and as I'm missing that creative family time, I thought I'd take a moment to reminisce.

The two years that our entries were victorious in the prestigious "wagon" category, we were up past midnight working away in the garage like so many cobblers elves. The men typically are our engineers, specializing in all the cardboard, Exacto-knife, and duck tape construction; sometimes they also incorporate spray paint. Meanwhile, the women use construction paper, Sharpie marker,felt, fabric, ribbon, and tinsel.

One year, the men managed to turn our Radio Flyer into a tall ship complete with cannons, after our then three year old said she wanted the float to be a pirate ship. Kari and Cody, who couldn't make it, still contributed by christening her "The Balboa Buccaneer" over the phone. My contribution was the Jolly Roger made red, white and blue, with flags in place of crossbones.

Our second award-winning float, also our daughter's idea, was a cityscape of the Big Apple, in honor of Aunt April's two-year stint in New York. Grammy sewed our eldest a Statue of Liberty costume; I made a Styrofoam torch. Aunt April made all the taxis with little American flag toothpicks coming out their windows.

Next year, we've got big fish to fry. In all previous entries, only one granddaughter has been old enough to ride. By next year,my in-laws will have four granddaughters. Wouldn't it be cool if they all could ride? I'm thinking patriotic mermaids on papier mache rocks? Or maybe they could all wear Daughters of the Revolution costumes sewing one big flag like Betsy Ross. These might not work as baby number four will be about 8 months old. I better keep thinking. In the meantime, we'll continue to enjoy past glories.

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