Well, the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Hot Springs turned out to be an adventure, indeed. First, it reminded me why I hardly get out in crowds. Too many people running into me, running into each other and expressing themselves in rude ways, like uttering an uncalled-for mean phrase to my mom as we walked by. For the most part, I’m pretty even-keeled, even a push-over at times, some would say. But I pick my battles, and if you rub me the wrong way or say or do something negative toward a loved one, I’ll let you know I’m disappointed. And let him know, I did. All it took was the stare of death to make him cower in his own shame.
A beer helped lighten me up a bit, and my family and I claimed our spot for the world’s shortest parade. We were standing in front of a flower bed filled with impatiens. Sad to say, people had no regard for these little live creatures. They stomped all over the pretty buds, flattening the blooms one by one. The parade attracted so many that we couldn’t see the participants as they strolled/drove by. Even tall me had trouble viewing the sights. But I did manage to catch a beaded necklace from Tim Matheson, the celebrity grand marshal.
A transformer across the street blew up, sparks flying everywhere! At first, there was applause and laughter. I think the crowd thought it was fireworks. I knew differently. The loud sound coupled with the heat I could feel from the source of the sparks were nothing fireworks have ever given off. The parade stopped, the crowd quieted down. Even the obnoxious radio DJ quit talking through the PA system. Someone was down, parade volunteers were telling people to back up and stay away. Seconds later an ambulance arrived, followed by another. We weren’t sure what to do. After a few minutes, we began walking the opposite direction to check out the other parade participants who were lined up ready for their procession. After about 10 minutes, the parade continued.
I was searching news and social media sites after the incident but couldn’t find much information. The next day, I learned one woman was taken to the hospital because the sound shook her up so much. Others tweeted that the sparks burned their shirts and scorched their hair. Yikes! Turns out there were no major injuries like we thought at first, thank God. Still, that parade will always stick with me. It’s nothing like what happened recently at the Indiana State Fair when the staged collapsed, killing and seriously injuring people, but still, being in a crowd when something so unexpected happens is scary. What frightens me most is how that many people, in a frantic state, conduct themselves while trying to evacuate.
We were fortunate not to have been near the transformer. And I have to give it to that crowd, after all. Despite the rude behavior I had experienced and witnessed, the crowd conducted itself in an orderly fashion following the blow up. Chaos did not ensue, and that was a blessing … an Irish blessing, perhaps.
We ended the eventful day at a delicious Mexican hot spot, Taco Mama. If you ever find yourself in Hot Springs, Arkansas, do yourself a favor and eat there. Have a margarita, too!