Sounds like a party to me

Published 10:00 am Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Independence Day Freedom Fest Parade crowd was tough.

A friend of Mike Ruzek’s told him the Spruce Up Austin parade entry should have followed the horses.

Obviously he didn’t appreciate the sophistication and artistry of the Spruce Up Austin Synchronized Hand Shovel Drill Team.

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Go figure.

Even one of my grandchildren was confused at the sight of a group of adults sitting on folding chairs, performing feats of rarely seen dexterity with lethal gardening tools to marching band music.

“What were you doing up there, Papa?” a grandchild asked me.

Kathy Borland and Dick Dixon handed out 1,000 Partners In Progress fans compliments of Austin Utilities.

They are the utility’s backup plan for a summer time power failure.

It was, of course, Independence Day, and we Spruce Up Austin tree-huggers were celebrating our freedoms to plant more than 2,400 trees in Austin over the last 20 years.

Julie Thomsen—Dave’s wife—conned us into forming a drill team.

She selected the music, choreography and rehearsed the team for about an hour before the parade started last Saturday.

Let’s see……Jack Sherman, Howard Nepp, Gretchen Ramlo, Harlan Nelson, Heather Vossler and Yours Truly are not the names of people seen on America’s Got Talent.

Mercifully, the drill team remained seated as the float proceeded along Main Street with thousands of people watching in stunned horror.

I shudder to think of their reaction if we stood up and gyrated our rhythm-challenged bodies.

Even the trees and shrubs, donated by Randy Berg seemed to shrink when our performance started.

We’ve done this before. Thrown away self-respect and agreed to humiliate ourselves in public. Every time the majority of our members have other plans on Independence Day. They’re going up north or they’re going down south. They don’t want to leave the grill or they’re afraid of crowds. So, it’s left to a few of us schmucks to carry on for the organization.

My job, as everybody saw, was to “hit it,” a euphemism for, Julie said, “Crank up the boom box as loud as you can, Lee, and don’t block the speakers with your fat ass.”

From the very start, I could see my colleagues lacked coordination or were off-medication. Naturally, I decided to pick up the slack and direct the poor, hapless souls to some semblance of order.

Unfortunately, they ignored my directions and quickly became the Out-of-Synch Hand Shovel Drill Team.

Judge for yourself when our dvd “What Were You Doing Up There, Papa” goes on sale at next week.

In the meantime, great job Austin Area Chamber of Commerce! You put on another great Independence Day celebration for all.

Now it’s on to Johnsburg this weekend. Sesquicentennial History, Freund General Store Nostalgia, polka music, beer and brats and weird-looking men in beards.

Sounds like a party to me.