Since childhood, one of my favorite parts of my small town life has been attending our summer festival, "Steamboat Days." Each year growing up, I looked forward to the first weekend in June, when we broke out the shorts and flip-flops, rode rides that made us sick, ate food that was too greasy, and made memories to last us the year.
During that weekend, freedom is served up a little more liberally. Kids roam the streets with their friends, and parents don't worry about them much. The little ones get into mischief tossing "stink bombs" at crowds, while the teenagers eye boys or girls who have come to visit from other towns. I should know; it's where I met my husband. When I was 14, my friends and I
It's a memory I still cherish to this day. Much like winning the Steamboat Days pageant as a girl and then a teenager. And selling beaded jewelry with my friends at an unapproved roadside stand.
Steamboat Days was a hallmark of my life as a small town girl. It's where family and friends who had moved on came back for a weekend together. It's where childhood romances started as quickly as they ended. And where the burdens of life lifted for a Thursday-Saturday hiatus.
After moving back to this town a year and a half ago, it's like nothing's changed. And it hasn't. We again live within walking distance of the festival so we still come and go freely and let our "schedules" wait 'til Monday. Only now, I push a double stroller and view the magic of "Steamboat Days" through the eyes of toddlers. And what do you know? It's even better that way.
This weekend my girls made their own sweaty, greasy, spinning, dancing Steamboat Days memories. No, there's not much to this small festival of ours, but there's enough to make us happy. There's food, friends and freedom from the day-to-day. We're small town girls, and that's all we need.