Guest editorial by Bruce Conley
When I was a boy, I had a bad case of hay fever. So much so, that the only way I could watch the Elburn Days Parade was through the car window. The parade then, was lined up at the old high school/grade school/community center and came right past Heartland Counseling, which was my Grandma Carrieâ€™s house where my father grew up. Every year, dad pulled our car up in Grandmaâ€™s front yard so I could see the parade.
It was a strange experience in some ways, seeing but not hearing, yet the one thing I could hear was the sound of the big bass drum in the â€œBoyâ€™s School Band.â€ As I heard that beat come closer and closer, I knew the parade was about to begin.
Fast forward to the early â€˜70s when I became the Master of Ceremonies for the parade, and Dr. Willey and I worked out a great system for getting information about each entry so that I had something to share as the unit walked by.Â Â It was the late â€˜90s/2000 when I was advised to pare down my stress a little, and the parade was one of those things I let go of.
For me, the irony of all of that, culminated in all of the accolades and honors that were lavished upon me in 2010 as Grand Marshall of the Elburn Days Parade. Here I was, in a car once more; here I was with an illness that nearly kept me out of the parade that night; yet here I was, now in the parade, not just watching it pass by. I may have had to let go of my job as Master of Ceremonies, but, thanks to my friends, the Stoffaâ€™s, Chet Morris and to countless others who partnered with them, my community did not let go of me. Instead, they let me experience what itâ€™s like to be in the parade and bring my entire family and my â€œworking familyâ€ with me!
There truly is no way to adequately thank all the many hands and hearts that joined together Friday night to give me this experience of a life-time. As I wrote this thank you, I could not help but hear the echo of â€œBefore the Parade Passes By,â€ from the Broadway show, Hello Dolly.
My wish, my prayer for each and every one of you is that, before your â€œparade passes by,â€ those who love you take time to tell you so; to let you know that you are the â€œGrand Marshallâ€ of their parade.Â Â
With deepest thanks, Bruce Conley