I moved to Kailua back in '75.
Today was the first time I have ever watched the Fourth of July Parade.
It's not that I was avoiding it, it just seems I was always working or someplace else.
I am in awe.
The parade in Kailua is a little different. It takes place on what is essentially a residential street. People erect tents in their yards and sit in chairs while other people with chairs and umbrellas sit in other people's yards and watch the parade go by.
Today, I felt like I live in Kailua.
I live in Kailua; I shop here, I fill my car with gas here, I eat here but I never really considered myself I resident here.
Perhaps it is because I spend so much of my time in town. Kailua was someplace I slept in.
While watching the parade and the crowd, I was overcome with a sense of community. I felt part of a community. I was part of the crowd.
I did my best to clap as each group of parade participants went by. Well, I did not clap for the Republican Party or the Democrates. Governor Lingle was there as was Mayor Mufi. So were our Senators Neil and Mazie. That was cool.
The really cool part though was the smaller, less well known groups that took the time out to be part of the event.
There were groups I never knew existed whether they came from Kailua or not.
Not to be a parade critic, but there wasn't any great entertainment value there. No elaborately decorated floats or well known celebraties.
Just people. People that live in Kailua.
Did the crowd care? The crowd appreciated every minute of it.
I do wish that the guy with the red Corvette had washed his car though.
I reflected on just how small of a town Kailua is. Take away all the award winning beaches, bed and breakfasts' and the emergence of Kailua as a tourist destination and all you got is a small town.
I remember when Kailua was a smaller town. Back before Pizza Hut, Burger King and Taco Bell. McDonalds was already here.
Back then, I was too young to appreciate what Kailua was all about. As I grew up, so did my town. Today though, I saw it for what it is again and I liked what I saw.
Watching the parade with the other residents here gave me a warm fuzzy. Twice.
The atmosphere may have changed a bit, but I don't think the people have.
Yeah, I live here.