Saturday, September 10, 2016

Happy 100th Birthday, Queen Elizabeth!

Elizabeth Mayes

It wasn't the birthday of Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth, but that of Stafford's very own centenarian, Elizabeth Mayes.  On Saturday morning, many of my hometown's inhabitants turned out to honor her and to view her celebratory birthday parade.  

Her daughter Linda

The procession was planned by Elizabeth's daughter Linda who telephoned my brother Friday evening to ask if he could drive his John Deere tractor to town to participate. But now that corn harvest has begun, the tractor was powering the vacuum system of the farm's grain bins.  Still, harvest was stalled when a thunderstorm blew through the area Friday night so why not be part of the fun?  

Choosing an alternate parade entry, Jon uncoupled our semi's cab from its trailer and drove that to town instead.  

For many years, Elizabeth taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School classes for the children at 1st Baptist Church.  I was one of those lucky kids.  I wanted to wish Elizabeth many happy returns of her day so I went along for the ride.

Parade participants on bicycles, motorcycles, golf carts, pickups or automobiles--the mode of transportation really didn't matter--gathered in front of the town's rest home so its residents could view the proceedings.

While Linda shuffled the parade members into some semblance of order behind the golf cart carrying our Queen Elizabeth, her husband Steve handed out balloons.  Jon tied ours to the truck's side mirror, I stuck our American flag out the passenger's window and we were off!

It took a couple of blocks for the procession to get up steam, but by the time it turned onto Main Street, it was moving along at a proper parade pace.  Our truck was supposed to bring up the rear, but a semi passing through town was caught behind us, an unscripted (and probably unwilling) addition to our motorcade.

On our first pass through the two blocks of our town's business district, the spectators congregated on the east side of the street near the bank.

I'm sorry!  There wasn't time to wash off the bug splatters on our windshield.

However, when the parade made the U-turn to go back through town,

many observers migrated to the west side of the street to wave to Elizabeth again.  

Jon pulled over to let the unwitting semi driver get by; then, deftly turned the cab around to catch up with the rest.  


All along the route, there was a cacophony of noise as drivers of the various parade vehicles unofficially competed for whose horn honked the loudest.  Personally, I think Jon's truck won that contest by a landslide.  

Too soon, the parade passed and the crowd dispersed, all hoping that there will be another parade next year to honor this inspiring and beloved lady. 

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth!


  1. What fun! Who doesn't love a parade! Congrats to Elizabeth!

  2. Small town America! You are probably busy, but we just signed up for a build in Omaha NE Sep 25 - Oct 9 - in case that would work out for you. Nebraska, Kansas, pretty much the same thing, right?!?!

    1. Hi, Doug! One of the benefits of small town life is a real sense of community, something that you have to work at building in a city. Omaha would be fun but we're here until all the soybeans are harvested which will probably be late in October. Any chance you'll be in Florida in January? We're signed up for Del Ray, FL from Jan. 8-21. Would love to have you & Chris join us!

    2. Unless something changes our plans - we will be out west this winter in Arizona and Southern California. I'm sure our paths will cross again!