Memorial Day Weekend & Reflecting on Polka Parades

We have a weird schedule of events in McKinney this upcoming Memorial Day weekend.  The big Bike The Bricks event is scheduled for Friday and then there is very little scheduled until Monday when there will be the Memorial Day Service in Pecan Grove Cemetery.

I don’t know yet if I will find myself out at Lake Texoma Saturday or Sunday, but it’s possible.  If not, my hometown of Ennis has the National Polka Festival this weekend and they always have a killer parade at 10 am on Saturday morning. I cannot, however, express how truly difficult it is to motivate my husband to drive an hour and a half to anything that has the word “polka” in it.

It really is a spectacular parade.  Every time.  And I have very nearly got some of the best shots ever there.  In 2007, it rained.  The children cried. In the parade.  It was so… I don’t know … emblematic.  Every kid in the parade was clearly miserable. One Boy Scout marched, head back in a continuous open-mouth sob.   Still, he marched.  I missed that shot.  It wasn’t that I was enjoying his misery.  We were all pretty much miserable.  We were standing in the rain too.  What got me was knowing that the parade was going on regardless and that, a week from now, he wouldn’t care that it rained. In twenty years, he might not even remembered that it rained. What gets stored in our hearts is so different from a Polaroid.  He won’t remember (hopefully) how it was, but he’ll remember what it meant to be part of the parade, part of the community and part of the family that clearly made him march.

It was the 2008 parade where I got this shot, one of my absolute favorites. In case you can’t make it out, the lady on the float and circled in yellow is holding a camera.  I absolutely love small towns.  They keep it real.

Photo From 2008 Ennis Polka Festival Parade

Photo From 2008 Ennis Polka Festival Parade

This year’s Bike the Bricks will be the city’s second annual closed-course bicycle race through downtown McKinney. Last year I took the day off, volunteered at the beer ticket booth and had a blast.  I couldn’t take a vacation day this year but I’ll be there as soon as I can get back up here from Allen.

I understand the beer garden this year will have a larger beer selection and I think I heard that it will actually be on the square where the buildings will help provide more shade earlier in the day.  Last year’s beer garden was in the parking lot across from The Pub and it wasn’t until evening that we got any real respite from the sun.

Live entertainment is scheduled to begin at 6:30 and will include the Alex Dowidchuk Band , the Maylee Thomas Band, and Jon Christopher Davis.

Proceeds benefit the McKinney Education Foundation and Spokes4Hope.

For more information, see www.downtownmckinney.com.

Memorial Service at Pecan Grove Cemetery

Memorial Service at Pecan Grove Cemetery

The Pecan Grove Memorial Day Service is a fantastic event held at the Pecan Grove Cemetery (see my post from last year).  The placard out in front of the First United Methodist Church says the event starts at 10 am but the listing on the CVB site shows a start time of 9:30.  The crowd there gets bigger every year so I would definitely heed the earlier time.  They will have a lot of seating but it will fill up quickly and people will be sitting on the grass.  I just about guarantee that.  It’s generally also always been good weather for the service but hot.  The Boys Scouts will be offering water but it is a very good idea to bring a chair, some water and a hat. The event is scheduled to last until 11:30 and is followed by a BBQ lunch provided by Boy Scout Troop 303.

In years past, there has been a great deal of pageantry, many wonderful speakers (including prominent Texas politicians) and a fly over by an antique aircraft. I hope it isn’t irreverent but the big draw to me is the potential of photos there. Everything is perfect. It is like a true Rockwellian event.  There’s a huge canopy with all the dignitaries and all the families sitting in the audience on the lawn.  The boy scouts are there and pretty much every uniform that’s ever been seen in this area, short of a conquistador or Native American warrior. The cemetery itself is absolutely gorgeous and has interred soldiers from every conflict. It’s actually a great deal like a parade in that it is us at our very best, celebrating our ideals and memorializing those that have sacrificed to preserve our ability to do just that.

Whew.  I hope that doesn’t sound corny. I must be in one of those moods.

I popped by Pecan Grove this afternoon to try to take some pictures.

Pecan Grove Cemetery

Pecan Grove Cemetery

Sorry if this is macabre, but I was able to actually capture this picture exactly as I saw it.  That’s generally pretty hard to do.  This little grave just really stood out to me.

Pecan Grove Cemetery

Pecan Grove Cemetery

I am enamored with Mrs. Wygle’s monument. I was never able to get the shot of it to show how I saw it.  Not even close. From far away, the sun shines on the statue and she seems so lifelike, the monument just grabbed my attention every time I turned and caught a glimpse of it from the corner of my eye. She seems to hover, angelic, like a real presence there, overlooking other graves.

Pecan Grove Cemetery

Pecan Grove Cemetery

I thought this shot below was romantic.  On the left is Addie Mayes, wife of Dr. I.E. Webb, born January 17th, 1874 and died March 24, 1897.  So young. Just twenty-three. Right next to her, with a matching tombstone is her husband, Dr. I.E. Webb, born in Lee County, Alabama November 6, 1864 and passing in El Paso, Texas on April 16, 1902. Such short lives.  What a story these two stones tell while saying so little.

Pecan Grove Cemetery

Pecan Grove Cemetery

The new chapel has been finished for awhile now and it’s perfect.  It looks like a little country chapel.  I still haven’t quite figured out how to get the sky to be the right color in the background, though it appears to have something to do with where the sun is in the sky and where I’m pointing the camera in relation to it. Apparently, you can’t point anywhere close to where the sun is or else the sky goes white.  I thought this shot was neat.

Pecan Grove Cemetery Chapel

Pecan Grove Cemetery Chapel

This shot had potential.  I think it would be a good shot on a clear day. And with the camera turned to the left a little so the chapel wouldn’t appear to lean left.

Pecan Grove Cemetery Chapel

Pecan Grove Cemetery Chapel

I don’t know what I think about this one. It just seems kind of spooky. I’ve been watching too much Ghost Whisperer on NetFlix.

Pecan Grove Cemetery

Pecan Grove Cemetery

So, that’s enough for now. If I don’t post again before Memorial Day, I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday weekend.

Until next time,

Happy Shopping!

4 Responses to “Memorial Day Weekend & Reflecting on Polka Parades”

  1. Texasbelle

    Thanks so much for posting about the Pecan Grove service! Your comments aren’t corny, they are patriotic.
    I love the Pecan Grove Memorial Day service!! I can give up 2 hours of my holiday morning to sit in the hot sun to recognize and honor the war heros who have made America safe. It is a wonderful event and a lovely part of small town, patriotic America.
    I’ll look forward to seeing you there; snapping pictures as usual…

    Reply
    • Beth

      Nice! I’ve added it under Community Links. One of these days I’m going to get that sidebar cleaned up.

      Reply
  2. OldMrBill

    Thanks Beth, for an interesting blog. I missed last year’s Pecan Grove Memorial Service due to my wife’s cancer battle which was in full swing at the time. This year, my brother-in-law from Illinois and I will be there. We are both Veterans, he with the Air Force (Academy grad) and I with the Army (’64-’70). It will be his first Pecan Grove visit and my fifth. Your images capture the essence of Pecan Grove very well. After seeing your photos tonight, he and I will attempt to seek out those shots to view them real-time.
    Thanks again for your posting.
    William Littlehales

    Reply

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