Monett's two grandest celebrations, the July 4 fireworks and the Christmas parade, are both post-World War II traditions. The generation that went away to war, and those who stayed home to literally keep the home fires burning, created big ways to honor and cherish the life they fought to preserve.
Over the years, Monett has had limited success expanding even the practice of parades. The July 4 parade after the National Guardsmen returned from Iraq proved to be a shining exception to the general lack of interest in such events.
As much as we look forward to Monett's Christmas parade, it often comes under trying circumstances. Temperatures in the 40s are hardly ideal conditions to stand around on Broadway for an hour. It beats temperatures in the 20s when the community Christmas tree was last lit at South Park 20 years ago, but it's still an effort.
There's something about a parade that's exhilarating: the colors, the creative ideas that go into the floats, the sound of a marching band. Nothing substitutes for being there. It may be an old-fashioned throwback. Except for the addition of lights, local parades are anything but high tech.
But there's also nothing high tech about a family moment together at curbside to watch the parade. After all, it is the children who have always marveled the most about the spectacle. It's worth the trouble just to watch their faces as the procession travels by.
Shared moments together makes holiday memories. The same thing that brings families together also brings communities closer.
Gather the family together this weekend and take in one of the many Christmas parades around Monett. It's an old-fashioned way of making memories together, just like other holiday experiences, like attending the Ozark Festival Orchestra Christmas concert on Sunday afternoon.
In our non-stop world, it seems to become harder each year to enjoy the simple pleasures of the holiday season, traditions included. May the spirit and whimsy of parade be part of your life this year.