Clatskanie has about 1800 people living in the city limits but during the July 4th weekend that number must triple at the very least. Beautiful and I loaded up the boys on Saturday afternoon after their naps and our disappointing garage sale, and headed to my parents house to celebrate Independence day in the town my parents met. Growing up I remember the parade and the rides in the park. I remember the fishing contest and the logging competition and I was excited for Beautiful and the boys to see how this quiet town turns into the spot to be.
Saturday night we had a BBQ at my parents house and saw some family from Nor Cal that I am not sure I had met before. One of the big draws to Clatskanie on the Fourth is that everyone comes back for that holiday and our family is a pretty big portion of that population. Walking around the streets we often hear “That’s your Cousin so and so, and that is you great uncle” We joked with the Nor Cal family that dating in Clatskanie requires a family tree to make sure your not related. After the BBQ they were off to do the downtown pub crawl that meant hitting up the 4 bars on main street and joining the shoulder to shoulder throngs for $2 PBRs.
Sunday morning my parents took the boys to the early church service while Beautiful and I slept in. It was such a magical time, sleeping late in a quiet house. It flet like I was getting away with something, like the guy at the candy store gave me too much change back. We joined them downtown for the parade and Primo was so excited for the coming log trucks, floats, and candy that he did three different happy dances. One of which had one hand on his junk, the other stretched out to the side and kicking his leg out to the side while spinning around. Fire Trucks and candy are an intoxicating duo in the mind of a four year old. Segundo was pretty reserved, apparently not fully grasping what was about to happen. The parade started and the boy quickly filled their plastic grocery bag with all kinds of goodies. Primo was giving the paraders the signal, hand out with the palm up, waving the candy in.
The parade was as awesome as I remembered as a kid. Log trucks and princesses, floats with the little league all-stars waving back at us. There were at least fifteen John Deer tractors from the 1920’s on. The Sheriff boat that keeps my uncles from pulling in salmon out of season was there, so naturally my uncle was on the river fishing. The candidates running for office were passing out stickers and the ones that knew their crowd was also throwing out candy. There was even a tree stump carved into a magical woodland creature. The logging and fishing industry was well represented and the whole scene was great.
After the parade we walked down to the park and got some lunch while Primo rode some rides with Papa. The kids ax throwing contest was one so Segundo and I watched that while Beautiful and Grandma stood in line for the food. There were raffles for BBQ/Smokers, Ford Mustang, and a military truck full of firewood and we bought tickets for all of them. Every organization in town was raising money for something and we felt it our civic duty to help. Walking back to the cars to head back for naps the boys insisted they weren’t tired but were both asleep before we even made it off of main street.
We all took long naps and then headed back downtown for the fire works. We went to my cousins house up on the hill overlooking town and had front row seat for the show. It was like looking straight ahead since the fireworks were fired up towards us on the hill. It was a great day, and one of those that held just as much magic as an adult and parent as it had as a kid. I remembered the parade and the carnival, the family and the food and I know that my boys will remember those thing too. Nothing beats a small town fourth of July, and I would hold Clatskanie up to any small town in the U.S.