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Onoway Heritage Days...or the BIG Show!

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One perfect summer day Saturday,  we went to Onoway to celebrate "Heritage Days."

After a pancake breakfast (notable because I could actually hear my arteries hardening) we took a pre-parade stroll downtown.

Two men stumbled down the street. One of them was sort of wearing a shirt and I suspect they had been up all night...maybe a couple of nights. They were discussing how unfair it was that they had to pick "him" up at the airport. (Actually the word "firetruck" and "firetrucking" in a significantly shortened form featured prominently in their conversation as both noun AND verb and an adverb...maybe...)

Another man wearing huge silver earphones, was listening to Johnny Cash. I know this because he broke out into muttering but occasional song: "I've been everywhere...mmmm nummmmber...oh yeah...brrrummmbbb....grrrraaabooobah"

A man walked by with an enormous Tim Horton's coffee cup. (For our American friends, Tim Horton's is a national institution right up there with beavers and maple leaves.) We are talking a freaking GINORMOUS cup. He was pushing a stroller and hanging onto another kid.

"Now THAT'S a cup of coffee," I observe shrewdly.

He laughs. "I only get one cup a day."

"Don't expect to sleep until February," I quip cleverly.

"I don't. Where do you think these kids came from?"

I smile even though I am not entirely sure what he meant but I have the suspicion he's just said something dirty.

A few minutes later we were at the pre-parade parking lot. Sheree took off to charm the troops on the Buffalo -- a land mine removal vehicle...that cost FOUR MILLION DOLLARS. I am thinking that if the Canadian government has just spent four MILLION dollars on a big truck, they should probably sent it to the middle east or something since I don't think there are a lot of land mines needing emergency removal around Onoway...doesn't smack of 'bang for the buck' -- pardon the pun. Or not.

Anyway, a few minutes later I am standing by the float for a Minor Hockey League team. Seven little guys are sweating buckets as they stand on the back of a small trailer in full hockey gear. They are supposed to pretend to slap the puck around. The two nets are maybe two and a half feet apart.

All eight of us are watching the beginning of a potentially entertaining exchange between two coaches.

"You didn't bring the speakers?" demands a florid round man in a way-too-tight blue jacket. 'Head Coach' is written in cursive font on the breast.

"I forgot," says a little man with nervous eyes. His jacket says 'Asst Coach.' (It's gotta suck to be an 'asst.') The words are written in ugly block letters.

The big man looks at the little man disbelievingly. "What are we supposed to do for MUSIC?"

The little guy looks trapped and unhappy. "I can...play the CD."

"...a CD???" His face is turning a bright red.

The little guy gets into the van that will propel this minor league team into scrutiny of all of Onoway. The BIG show. He turns the key and cranks up the radio.

"PUT ME IN COACH...I'M READY TO PLAY TODAY!!!" comes the tune.

Relief floods the big guy's face. He actually smiles.

"That'll work," he says.

"WHAT?" says the little guy.

"I said THAT'LL WORK!!!" calls the big guy. When the little guy frowns and shrugs, the big guy gives him a thumbs up sign.

The big guy goes off to micro-manage the kids on the float, John Fogerty continues singing about baseball...on a hockey float.

This little girl was less than three feet tall. She was with a precision marching band that wasn't.

But you know something? I loved every minute of my time in Onoway. Every cotton picking minute.