I waited for the Fourth of July Parade to start, fiddling nervously with my American Heritage Girls vest. As Miss American Girl (I’d been voted that for being most patriotic), I was going to lead the parade. And I was shaking in my shiny black Mary Jane’s just thinking about it.
Be like Emily, I told myself. She’d love to lead a parade!
But I couldn’t convince myself to be like Emily, and I couldn’t convince myself that nothing bad would happen.
Saige, who was putting her horse, Hermosa Luna’s, bridle on, called me over. “Molly!”
“I can tell that you’re, like, totally nervous, ’cause you’re leading the parade. Well, I led a parade, too, once, back in New Mexico,” she told me. She lowered her voice. “I was super scared that I would mess up. I was riding Picasso — Mimi’s horse, remember? — and I was supposed to do this scarf trick. And you know what? I did it! And nothing bad happened. Molly, everything will be OK.” Saige smiled reassuringly at me.
I took a deep breath and tightened my grip on the flagpole. “Thanks, Saige. And good luck!”
She ran a brush through her horse’s already perfect mane. “I’ll need it!” she replied. “Luna’s never been in a parade before.” Saige tossed the brush aside and swung into Hermosa Luna’s saddle.
I took my place at the front of the procession and the parade began.
Kids gasped in delight when Saige and Hermosa Luna pranced by. They were a great team, the confident cowgirl astride her dazzling white horse.
The parade started in the old section of town where MJ, on the last float, played her violin (which she was calling her fiddle) and sang The Star Spangled Banner and other patriotic songs.
I didn’t really know why Emily was up on a float at a Fourth of July parade — she wasn’t even American!
We reached downtown, the halfway point. I stood straighter and smiled brighter. I hadn’t dropped the flag or done anything else that would ruin the parade!
MJ put her fiddle away and let loose a very energetic version of Katy Perry’s Firework.
Back at camp, an American flag had been set up as a backdrop at the photobooth.
P.S. MJ’s birthday was July 3rd.