Friday, June 27, 2014

Everyone Loves A Parade

  Everyone loves a parade, but my family really loves one parade in particular, The Wanderoos Parade.  This small town in Wisconsin has a Fourth of July parade that is known only to the local residents and few outsiders. So how did the Wanderoos parade become such a big event with my family?  Well it all started about forty years ago when my sister and brother-in-law bought a farm on the Apple River. This farm became the family gathering place and center for all kinds of activities and a good deal of silliness.
  The Wanderoos parade soon became a family foolishness favorite.
  In the beginning, we didn't have very much imagination.  We rode the horses over to Wanderoos, rode through town and then rode them back to the farm. Sometimes someone would drive the old farm truck decorated with crepe paper with  kids in the back.
   Then my brother-in-law bought a buggy and drove it in the parade. As we added on so did the rest of the parade.

  My husband bought a motorcycle for the kids and one for himself so motorcycles were added as our contribution to the parade.

  A newer farm truck was added along with a tractor to a pull trailer.  Our creative juices began to flow and we started planning a float.  We made costumes and the "Fun, Pun, Joke Float" was born starring Miss Print wearing a dress made out of newspaper.

Featuring "Sun Dress, Bear Feet, Rein Coat, 10 Gallon Hat"
Featuring "Mis print"

  The Amery Free Press (Tuesday, July 10, 1979) featured our float on the front page with the caption:  Miss Print and a lady wearing a sun dress enjoyed their tour through Wanderoos on Saturday during the annual Fourth of July observance.  The float was entitled, "Fun, Pun, Joke Float." 

Apple River Floating Society
  The next year was followed by the "Apple River Floating Society Float". It was on a trailer being pulled by an old tractor. Everyone had a inner tube, a silly old hat and a beer. We sang songs on our way through town. And yes we still had the horses in the parade. We were very young and silly back then.
  To understand a little about Wanderoos you have to realize how small the town is, the parade is only about four blocks long. You spend more time in line waiting to go through town, then driving in the parade. Wanderoos had a population of about 20 people back then, but everyone for miles around came to participate or watch this parade.

  And then my brother-in-law bought an old fire truck.  The kids dressed up, my nephew wired up a sound system that played patriotic songs, and we all piled onto the truck and threw candy to the kids that lined the streets. The parents grew up their kids were having children of their own, new traditions were started, but the Wanderoos parade was still attended every year.
  Wanderoos boosts it is the :  "Biggest Independence Day Celebration in the area!" This year like every year for the past forty plus years the Kiddies Parade starts the celebration followed by the Grand Parade. There are chicken dinners, kiddie games, a sawdust pile, a horseshoe tournament, softball games, and fireworks at dusk followed by a street dance. They have  loads of activities that are fun for all ages.  There might even be an old fire truck blasting patriotic songs with a few of the old timers throwing candy.
Wanderoos Independence Day Celebration,  July 5, 2014 starting at 10:30 am.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Antique Roadshow Experience

  In January I applied for tickets to the Antique Roadshow and then promptly forgot all about it. In May, I opened an envelope from the mail. This envelope nearly went unopened and directly into the recycling bin.  To my surprise, inside there were two large beautiful tickets to the coveted antique extravaganza, The Antique Roadshow, in Bismarck, North Dakota on May 31.  I had two weeks to make plans and decide what to have appraised.         
   My daughter and I decided to make the long trip. We set off on a lovely Friday morning and enjoyed a leisurely drive, stopping at an occasional antique shop along the way. The next morning we woke early and arrived at the Bismarck Civic Arena an hour before our scheduled time.
  The volunteers from the Bismarck area  directed the crowds of people, they were friendly and helpful.  Mark Walberg walked through the crowds looking very smart in a dark blue tailored suit and occasionally he turned to nod at someone. We chatted with the people near us as we stood in the numerous  lines; the 10:00 ticket time, the item description ticket line, and then the item appraisal line.  There were many lines but the people around us were friendly, interesting and excited to show off their antique items.  We laughed and laughed at and with the crazy Canadian father son team from Winnipeg. They had a signal lamp in its original box that was appraised at $450.00.  The father was hoping his little glass cream pitcher was worth $40,000, might as well dream big he said.            
  We saw an Avon bottle lamp, machine made wooden bowls, an oil painting of John Wayne and many  other items of little value. I would estimate that ninety-five percent of the items brought to the Antique Roadshow for appraisal fell into this category. We also saw some exceptional things; an American Indian mannequin in complete deer skin regalia, pottery and a beautiful oil painting.
  I had several military items that need I additional information about, I wanted to know if they were authentic and their approximate value. My first item was a Civil War cap pouch with a metal US medallion. A cap box or pouch is a small leather pouch worn on the front of a belt and is used for the storage of percussion caps. Percussion caps are very explosive and great care needs to be taken when handling them, that is why the leather pouch is padded with lamb's wool. Christopher Mitchell told me that the cap pouch was indeed authentic but the metal medallion on the front was a movie prop.   He recommended that the medallion remain on the pouch.


  He also appraised my powder horn. Back at home before we left, I poured out about three cups of black gun powder;  thinking it was probably not a good idea to bring gun powder into the Antique Roadshow.  A powder horn is a container for gunpowder and is generally made from cow, ox or buffalo horn.  The wide mouth is used for filling the horn with gun powder and the narrow end is used to dispense the gun powder into the gun. Using an animal horn for gun powder is a cleaver idea because the horn is hollow, naturally water proof keeping the powder dry and it also  ensures that the gun powder won't be detonated by sparks when the gun is fired. Christopher Mitchell told me the powder horn made between 1870-1880 in the Tim Tansel style. The Tansel family were famous for making powder horns with Tim Tansel being the most prolific maker.

  All and all we had an exciting day, met some interesting people, gleamed  a little information  and saw many unique things. My daughter and I shared a once in a lifetime experience and had some fun together. The next day an old children's rhyme kept running through my head.

We went to the animal fair,
The birds and the beasts were there,
The big baboon by the light of the moon   
Was combing his auburn hair
The funniest was the monk
He climbed up the elephant's trunk
The elephant sneezed and fell on his knees
And what became of the monk?
The monk! What became of the monk?

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