Brownie TROOP 6190, made up of 3rd Grade Girls all from Jackson Academy, was a month away from the annual Ridgeland, MS Christmas Parade. My wife approached me to assist in trying to build a float the Troop could decorate for he upcoming Christmas Parade so they could earn their badge. This year the parade theme was a Tropical Christmas and the first for me as I do not recall ever being involved in a Christmas Parade much less building a float. Now you have to understand I do not own a trailer, and I do not have any tools that are probably needed to build a float either. Fortunately one of the Troop parents provided a trailer that we could use. Once the trailer landed on my driveway the pressure was on for us to build a Tropical Theme Float. My wife did some research online and came up with a tropical theme utilizing a variations of tropical floats from different images as nothing is original anymore as we all pull inspiration from others. Even when it comes to searching for a house most homes or not much different in physical appearance than the one next door, right? Isn’t a house is all about what’s inside that counts right? But we all know curb appeal sales before anyone takes a step inside your home. So my wife took from what other floats looked like and started her vision. Once she decided what float probably would best work I was recruited for the build. At first I was not excited because at the end of the day doing these activities take time that I felt is limited with my daily work, our kids activities, and other demands of daily tasks that most all families endure. But when you have an 8 year old and the years of participating in activities with them are shrinking as they get older you start to realize its all about the memories to share that will last for years to come. So to carry on with the float build was not a hard decision when I realized the outcome.
After the trailer had arrived in my driveway within a few days later we were very fortunate that one of the Troop Leaders Mom’s dropped off several large boxes with the main box being a refrigerator box, as this is was going to be the foundation of the float, a cardboard box, yeah I know I thought the same thing too. But this was a refrigerator box and unlike other boxes it seemed to be the most stable of other choices especially since it had to hold the load of the roof. For the palm tree base I called upon a friend of mine who owned a flooring company who provided me several large carpet rollers which I wrapped them with floor covering paper for prep painting you can get at Lowes or HomeDepot. I took a large section of the flooring papers and balled it up to resemble a crinkle look like bark on a tree so when I rolled it around the tree trunk it gave it that rough look.
The palm leaves were cut out by another Troop’s mom and cheap umbrellas, (with the awning removed) were placed inside the carpet roller holding up the palm leaves that were placed on top. So with a box cutter and I mean a large box cutter, gorilla tape, and a yard stick I spent the next two late nights constructing the base of this contraption. Once the base float was designed we ended up painting the box and applying a wall paper to look like palm leaves on the roof. Now the house was ready for Troop 6190 to decorate. My father ended up coming over to help build a very small platform on the float trailer where the cardboard were to sit inside the wood platform and three anchored boards attached to the platform extended 3 feet were used to slide in the carpet rollers to hold the palms in place. Not having a truck of my own to pick up the wood and an electric saw it was a welcome site for my dad to assist. All we had was Team Effort and vision to make this float a reality and it was happening quickly with everyones help. So as the week was coming to an end Troop 6190 was invited over to our house to decorate and paint the float with their Mom’s watching over the final details.
The morning of the parade the wind was extremely crazy and temperature was dropping which meant some MacGyver tricks were needed to hold downy the palms from blowing away. My wife and other troop moms not realizing the significance of this parade were blown away with some of the other floats that were lined up in the parade route when they arrived. This was a judged parade and we definitely did not want to disappoint but honestly some of these other floats were handcrafted with specialized carpentry with real wood that a box cutter could not duplicate so we soon realized we were not on an equal playing field. But who cares at this point as we were happy to be involved with Troop 6190 Girls who was just trying to earn their badge, learning how to participate, and work together as a Team.
Once the children jumped in the float in their ready position the gun went off to start the parade with music playing from the back of the cab truck where I sat and held a mega phone up to my iPhone playing Bing Crosby’s Mele Kalikimaka. The Troop did an awesome job playing their part wearing hula-skirts, santa hats, and large eye glasses giving them that tropical theme look while throwing out candy on the parade route to awaiting children and parents. Within 45 minutes after the start of the parade it was all over as we immediately were assisting in disassembling the float from the trailer once we came to a stop. When walking our supplies back to our car Mayor Gene McGee of Ridgeland, MS was calling out the winners of the parade. Literally we were just walking right by headed to our cars with our hands full when the announcement was about to take place. We decided to await the results with no anticipation of the Troop 6190 winning as many Troop Girls were already walking to their cars with their moms in tow headed back to their home, as mentioned earlier our cardboard box house was no competition against some of those well crafted floats. Well, sometimes when you least expect it things just happen and who would of thought that a Refrigerator Box would win 1st Place and that is exactly what happened, Brownie Troop 6190 won 1st Place. When the Mayor announced that Troop 6190 won 1st place the Troop Girls that did stay for the announcement screamed so loud that their screams were heard by the other Troop Girls who were walking away who immediately stopped and ran screaming back to the winners circle. What a fun site it was to see how excited the girls were, hugging and screaming together as a Team.
Of course the easy route for us all involved would of been to throw some store bought bales of hay , blown up palm trees made in china, and told the girls to sit on the bales of hay waving to the spectators as they passed by so that they could just earn their badge. I am sure for at least the parents sake with all of our busy schedules it too would of been easier and less time consuming. But looking back I realize what actually occurred and that was a Team Participation from parents and children who had vision, who made time to participate, and who had fun working together provided us all memories to last a lifetime. So the next time your house hunting and searching for ways to make a HOUSE A HOME best make sure you have the right Team in place that understands your vision, knows how to participate, and has fun doing it with you so you too can have a lifetime of memories to share. And that is how we made this HOUSE a HOME! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!