I live in a small town, a cute town with a donut shop named “Joe’s” and a coffee shop named “Mountain Moka”–yes they spell mocha with a “K”–’cause Ks are real Klassy.
364 days of the year, Sandy, OR is a layover to your weekend camping trip to Mt. Hood. We’re an afterthought, a place swing in for gas or grub, except for one Thursday in July. On that singular day, for a few brief hours, Sandy, quite literally stops traffic on the only highway leading up to Mt. Hood to hold our annual Mountain Days parade and crooked carnival. The week leading up to the parade, citizens place chairs on the sidewalk, staking out their views for the procession of “floats”, which are simply cars trucks and vans with a little bit of window paint and streamers full of teens who toss candy out to kids on the street.
I grew up in San Jose, CA, which is not a small town by any means. If you placed a folding chair on the street a hobo would steal it before he tried to take your wallet. San Jose is a loud obnoxious city with a weird clapping ritual at the Century 21 movie theater on Bascom Avenue. So I think mountain days is charming in its own way and it inspired me a ballad. (Read this ditty to the tune of Giligan’s Island)
The Ballad of Billy Butts
Now here’s a tale of a little town
Whose pride is bold and true.
In summer when the sun is out,
A fair is what they do.
The streets are cleared: a grand parade.
On curbs, folk park their chairs–
Some days ahead to claim their spots,
Ensuring views are theirs.
But Billy fell upon the scene:
That night, he rigged the streets:
Instead of chairs: a bed of nails,
He left them for their seats.
How cruel! How mean! the mayor bawled
How can we all proceed?
What nasty waif swiped all our chairs?
Who have we disagreed?
Two miles away his truck was full
With folding chairs and nails.
The driver spoke up to himself,
They’ll never find my trails!
The light was red; his truck went through.
The police flagged him down.
Some chairs! Some nails! the copper said,
And then a mighty frown!
To jail he went, the petty thug.
And that is where he’ll stay
His cell is hard, his butt is sore:
His seats, taken away!