Another bike parade, another battle of wits

I thought I was in trouble but somehow, I skated.

It was the annual Fourth of July bike parade and I was in my usual spot doing my usual bike parade work: Sitting in our backyard outdoor kitchen sipping a cold bottle of Budweiser and listening to Jimmy Buffett’s radio station.

Hey, somebody’s got to do it.

a girl on her bike before the parade. Wearing a red white and blue stared dress.
It’s all about the look when it comes to the parade.
picture of a young boy on his bike before the parade. He is wearing a blue patriotic shirt, red shorts and a red, white and blue, fedora along with red framed sunglasses.
Styling for the Fourth of July Bike Parade.

Wednesday night was the 18th running of the Fourth of July bike parade which, by the way, is never held on the Fourth of July. I have written about the bike parade for all 18 years of its existence. Mainly what I write about is how, like a battle between the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, my wife and I battle over my role before, during and after the parade.

Hard to believe that just 18 years ago  our daughter Emma was in the same spot this kids are in.
kids on bikes and scooters lining up for the start of the 19th annual 4th of july bike parade
This is how the parade begins. I think it’s how it begins. I’m usually in our backyard sipping a cold Budweiser and listening to Jimmy Buffett’s radio station.

My wife has always been of the opinion that my role before the parade is to help set things up. Then, during the parade, my wife is of the opinion that my role is to watch and encourage the roughly 1,493 kids on their bikes, scooters and anything else that rolls on wheels as they make their way up our street. Then, after the parade, my wife is of the opinion that I should mingle with all the people who are sipping lemonade and eating cookies while roughly 2,493 kids run wild.

The danger of the parade: If one falls down, they all fall down.

And I mean “run wild” in a good way.

a tight shut of the begining of the race. A kid in a red shirt with a red helment riding a bike surrounded by other kids on their bikes
The parade, which is not a race but actually is a race, is officially underway.

I, on the other Roman candle, am of the opinion that my role before the parade is to help set things up. Then, during and after the parade, I am under the opinion that my role should be sitting in our backyard outdoor kitchen sipping a cold Budweiser and listening to Jimmy Buffett’s radio station.

The Fourth of July bike parade is the brainchild of Lana, who lives across the street, and my wife.


Because Lana and my wife are female people, they not only came up with the idea for the bike parade they also organized it and do most of the work so that it goes off without a hitch.

On the right is Laurel Rosenthal the principal of Mark Twain Elementary School and the Grand Marshall of the Fourth of July Bike Parade. On the left is Patty Rosenberg. Laurel was my wife’s kindergarten teacher and Patty was her sixth-grade teacher. I think that’s something.


If two male people had come up with the idea for the bike parade their involvement would have ended at that point. The actually doing of the parade would have been passed on to female people.

pic of a table of snacks for the parade. a bowl of sliced waetermellon with trays of cookies and cupcakes
In case you’re wondering, I hauled this table to the parkway. You’re welcome.

At least that’s been my experience.

I don’t like that. It seems to me coming up with an idea is the easy part. It’s making an idea a reality that’s the hard part.

That’s why I seldom come up with ideas.

During the early years of the parade I had three main responsibilities. I had to haul our picnic table out of our garage, clean it and set it up in the parkway in front of our house. Then I had to help our daughter Emma line up for the parade. Then I had to walk behind Emma in the parade to make sure she didn’t either fall off her bike or crash it causing a chain reaction that would result in roughly 3,459 kids collapsing like a string of dominoes.

And then I had to mingle.

But Emma is 21-years-old now and hasn’t ridden in the parade for nearly a decade now so I’m not really needed during the parade and, since I’ve never been good at mingling, I figure that my time would be better served sitting in our backyard kitchen, sipping a cold Budweiser and listening to Jimmy Buffett’s radio station.

Which is what I was doing Wednesday evening when my wife stormed into our backyard and said “I COULD REALLY USE SOME HELP RIGHT NOW!”.

Sensing I was in trouble, I set down the beer I was sipping and reached into the cooler for another one.

You know what they say, “When the going gets tough you might as well get another beer.”

I think they say that.

But it turns out I wasn’t in trouble. A few people attending the parade had expressed an interest in having a beer and my wife wanted me to help pour a few into plastic cups and carrying them to our front yard.

A job for which I was born.

For the first time in 18-years, Emma wasn’t at the parade. She’s studying in Copenhagen, Denmark. Last year, her friend Katie, who is Lana’s daughter, was working in Chicago, Illinois and, for the first time missed the parade.

This year was to have been the first year that both Katie and Emma missed the parade but Katie, who is living and working in Springfield, drove over for the parade to surprise her parents and my wife.

For some reason Lana and my wife cried.

But I guess that’s OK.

After all, the parade was their idea.

from left to right. Lee pound, katie griffiths, lana griffiths and laurel rosenthal
From left to right: Lee Pound, Katie Griffiths, Lana Griffiths and Laurel Rosenthal.
a picture from left to right of Benji Rosenberg, Patty Rossenberg, Lee Pound and Himself.
From left to right: Benji Rosenberg, Patty Rosenberg, Lee Pound and some moron.
Bill Griffiths, his wife Lana and his daughter Katie. Bill helps way more with the parade than I do.
When this woman says “Jump” I say “How high?”