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One more trip to my soap box

The Married Daughter and What’s His Name volunteered to be in charge of the Fourth of July parade again this year. I just heard from the Daughter that they have raked in donations worth $600 for prizes for winning parade entries in this 93rd celebration. Not too shabby. The prize money is in the form of Peabody Bucks so that when you win, you will spend your winnings locally. Good idea!

Here are the categories. There is a $50 prize for the best decorated kid’s bike, a $50 prize for the best decorated golf cart or lawn mower, and a $50 prize for the coolest car. Prize offerings for floats are $250 for first place, $150 for second place, and $50 for third place. There is no specific theme for the parade so my best advice is to do something wonderful with red, white, and blue and be extravagant.

So far this week, I have seen several out-of-state license tags in front of the homes of friends, indicating that children and grandchildren are in Peabody once again for the best Independence Day celebration anywhere. Those kids deserve a chance to enter the parade just as their parents did. What a story to take back to Wisconsin or Mississippi or Texas.

Also on the Fourth are the American Legion Auxiliary dog show at 11 a.m. at Santa Fe Park, a 5-kilometer run at 8 a.m. at Peabody City Park, Peabody Recreation Commission kids’ games at Peabody City Park at 8 a.m., and a free swim day at the pool from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with special prize games. Hope you and your children or grandchildren can take in all the events!

*****

I was not going to mention this next topic again because I thought I might have said enough already. However, I usually do not get such a profuse response from readers, so I am going to share just one more story with you about children on bicycles.

You may recall that right after school was out for summer vacation I told you here that I came within inches of hitting a young boy on a bicycle at Walnut St. and Third St. when he flew through the intersection without even pausing, much less stopping at the stop sign. That column generated some opinions and I shared those with you a week or so later.

However, on Monday of this week, Janice Woodruff stopped me after the city council meeting and told me another horror story. Janice and her husband live just west of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks on Second Street. They had just pulled into the driveway of their home when the U.P. railroad crossing arms started coming down, red lights flashing and ringing. Woodruff glanced toward the tracks in time to see a white late model car hurry across the tracks, barely squeaking through before the arms came all the way down.

However, to her shock, there was a young boy about 10 or so pedaling for all he was worth right behind the car, his intention obvious. He was going to try to make it through the crossing arms just like that adult driver in front of him had done. Luckily, he saw the train, swerved his bike away from the tracks and crossing arms, and came to a stop.

She said if she had recognized the car or driver, she would have called him and given him an earful. I have no doubt. She is furious that an adult would set that kind of an example for a child. She said she knew right away that the only reason the boy thought he could make it through the crossing arms was because the adult driver had done so.

As often happens, youngsters ape their elders and end up making poor choices. Luckily, this boy trusted his own instincts at the last moment and came out all right. However, if you are an adult who is pushing the envelope, saying “do as I say, not as I do,” or just plain breaking the law, then you are part of a huge problem.

I expect that deep down you also know who you are. Do the right thing.

— SUSAN MARSHALL

Last modified July 2, 2014

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