The Frantz family loves an old-fashioned, hometown Fourth of July parade. In my book there is nothin’ that makes the heart swell like a twenty-five pound Butterball turkey than to see the red, white and blue wave all over the place during a patriotic procession. Of course the drippy sticky watermelon, homemade potato salad, beans and barbecue brisket consumed before the fireworks display hands-down comes right behind in second place. Tummy experiencing that rumbling feeling yet? Heck, we’ve been attending the local festivities so many years now, we even camp out in the same spot along the parade route. We know a great little patch of ground that affords a little tree shade and minimal ant hills for us and our handicapped daughter. Mimi is a huge parade fan and all the candy thrown in her direction is like adding white cream gravy on the mashed potatoes. Of course there was this one year Mimi wasn’t too impressed with the parade. It was probably 15, maybe a tad more, years ago. I think our oldest child, Katie, was still in high school. One of Katie’s buddies was marching and happened to spot Mimi waving her little American flag. Armed with a large and rather imposing water bazooka, for some unknown reason, Brit squirted Mimi right in the face. It happened so fast we never even saw it coming. Mimi’s eyes got huge like a couple of dinner plates right before she let out a major wail. I know, not funny at all. Brit couldn’t have unleashed her bazooka on a worse subject. Mimi has never been a huge fan of water. Nope. If it starts to rain she gets all wimpy. When she attends summer camp, Mimi talks her buddy out of getting her in the pool. We like to tease that Mimi melts into a little puddle in the rain just like the Wizard of Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West. But if the truth be told, her cheerful and bubbly personality truly resembles Glenda the Good Witch – on steroids. We never figured out what possessed Brit to squirt Mimi. I truly believe Brit didn’t even know. We chalk it up to it was probably just a spontaneous combustion-type of thing that happens in the universe sometimes. Poor Brit was so mortified she never showed up at our house again. Every year since then, when hubby and I see anyone coming down the parade route with anything remotely resembling an H2O squirting device, hubby and I surround Mimi until they pass. Better for the parents to take the “hit” than to have a repeat of a watery tale of woe. Now not all the excitement involves the parade part of the patriotic holiday. Our oldest reminded me of the annual fishing rodeo for the younger crowd. If you have kids, you should really try it. Now the fishing rodeo is an early morning competition to see who could catch the biggest and the smallest fish. Get hubby to take the kids so you can get an extra hour of sleep. “I remember I was standing right next to this kid and his dad. I caught this 1-1/2 inch catfish. That kid caught this humongo pregnant catfish and he was just five feet away from where I was standing. It was unbelievable,” said Katie. Yup, I also remember that year. I recall that our youngest child, Ricky, caught a teeny sun perch. He musta’ carried that fish in his pocket the whole weekend before the smell gave him away. “I thought for sure I’d get the prize for the smallest fish, but no. Someone brought in a guppy. I totally believe he didn’t catch that. Somebody had to have gotten that out of a bait bucket or a fish bowl,” said a disappointed Katie at the time. Did I mention that we are also huge fans of the community fireworks display? We also have a favorite spot scoped out to watch the snap, crack and pop festivities. Not too close to the noise, and not too far away to enjoy the dazzling colors of the fireworks. But you know it is interesting what can happen to the landscape in a year. Up until two years ago our favorite spot worked just great. Then last year something changed. The trees had grown so much we could hardly see much of the fireworks display except for the highest-launching Roman candles. Ya gotta love Mother Nature! Happy Fourth of July and hope to see you at the parade. Just leave the water pistols in your pocket! Dixie Frantz is a long-time Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist since 1996. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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