Nothing says hope like a homecoming parade. It’s a visible, noisy, joyous celebration of past, present, and future stretched along the heart of the town. This is Americana—simultaneously timeless and timely. A homecoming parade preserves both our past and our future. We wave to old men who have been champions since 1968 and to the little boys marching in their football jerseys, hoping to one day ride the float that carries the mighty Foley Lions.
The court perches atop convertibles driven by their fathers, uncles, or grandpas. Every car gleams almost as brightly as the sequined beauties. Of course, all that glitz pales beside the hope radiating from the girls. One of them will be crowned Queen at the football game Friday night. They are caught in that delicious breathlessness between holding onto one moment while anticipating the next. The air fairly vibrates with teen spirit.
But it’s more than that. It’s more than the 250+ member marching band dancing in sync to a drum cadence. It’s more than the JROTC unit chanting heartily. It’s more than the numerous school clubs making clever jabs at the opposing team as they pelt onlookers with candy. Homecoming is the wonder in a little girl’s eyes as she spots Leo the Lion. Homecoming is the otherwise too cool middle schooler cheering on his older buddy who made JV. Homecoming is the pride a grandmother feels as her grandson, just like her son and his daddy before him rides stone-faced amidst the revelry. In that moment, she transcends time.
The homecoming parade ends at Heritage Park around an open-air pavilion that whispers of oom-pahs and orchestras, echoing with the chimes of the town clock and laughter of children. The band, cheerleaders, players, family, and fans gather around with the homecoming court presiding on the steps above. The wistful strands of the Alma Mater cast their magic over the crowd, and they sway in rhythm. Past, present, and future intertwine, knitting the very fabric of community. In that moment, we all transcend time.
We’ve come home.
The high school principal embraces Leo the Lion for the Alma Mater