I'm going back to Shelton next week, just in time for the Memorial Day holiday. It's my favorite time of year to go back home. Not only is the weather usually nice, but I love seeing the generations of people who turn out for the pancake breakfast and parade.
Everyone knows somebody in the crowd at this one. Even if you go alone, you end up with old friends, cousins, former neighbors and classmates. Lots of classmates.
Kathy Bizub used to march with my class in the Shelton High School Band. Now she marches with her own students. It's a comforting sight. What goes around, comes around.
Same thing with John Spinetti, the Eagle Scout. He can usually be found in those really cool Boy Scout shorts, leading the pack.
And I swear the routines of the cheerleaders, majorettes and other marchers haven't changed much. I like that.
I hope other parade-goers find as many old friends as I do. Mine will be walking alongside teams, scouts or bands, with wagons of water for their kids or grandkids. Or they'll be down the street from me, watching and cheering on the old and new veterans, volunteer firefighters and policemen. It's a Shelton tradition. You don't miss the parade. It's nice to be able to count on it.
My dad, Charlie Kohanowski, doesn't drive the lead car anymore. He's going to be 85 this year. But he'll be watching, if I can get him away from the pancakes in the White Cross Pharmacy parking lot. (Yeah, I know, but it will always be White Cross to me, with a Simonetti behind the counter.) And of course Mrs. Clancy will be taking the tickets for breakfast. And you can count on Joe Pagliaro Jr. to be at the grill, giving to the community just as his father did before him. Same deal with Fred Anthony.
I've lived in many places over the years and I've never enjoyed Memorial Day as much anywhere else. As the town has grown, I hope it becomes as much of a tradition to the new folks who have joined us.
See you on Monday morning. And if anyone is interested, the previous Friday night (May 25) at Archie's in Derby, 7pm. Come on over and say, "Welcome home."