Muleshoe, like most of the United States, I suspect, celebrated July 4th on July 3rd because the holiday fell on a Sunday this year. Not a problem; certainly not in Muleshoe, because we had a big, happy crowd out for the festivities all day and lots of festivities to be enjoyed.
Sponsored by the Muleshoe Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, Andrea Alfaro and crew planned a full day of activities, starting with the vendors and food trucks set up on the courthouse square all day, one of which I was to sell succulents and cactus, and the parade that morning. I watched from my booth and saw all kinds of red, white, and blue pass by in a variety of ways. I don’t know that it had the most red, white, and blue, but the Bailey Country Electric float was the most unusual, and I think won first prize, for its high-line workers perched atop two electricity poles! Several bikes glided by competing for most patriotic bike. I would have hated to be the judge on that one-lots of good competition.
The Oneida Wagnon Senior Center had a barbecue meal and auction going on mid-day, but food was also readily available at the courthouse as well at food trucks and family food booths. While I sold plants, United Supermarket sponsored a pie-eating contest, I think the fire department had an interesting game of what they called water polo going on, the Mariachi Gema band from Lubbock performed, and Arnold Williams introduced singer/songwriter Janis Diane to perform the premiere performance of the official theme song of Ol’ Pete, the Mule Memorial. New business Muleshoe Truck Parts donated a variety of prizes to be drawn for, and the Mr. and Miss Firecracker contest was fun for the younger kids. A car show was ongoing in the Happy State Bank parking lot across from the courthouse.
The corn hole tournament was held on the courthouse lawn, but down the road kickball and softball were also available for teams interested in those sports. I think horseshoes were also thrown somewhere during the day.
That night Giovanni was the opening act for American Aquarium as the two featured attractions for music at the Mule Days/Kickin’ Nights gathering at the Muleshoe Country Club and Golf Course. The Lions Club did their ping-pong ball drop fundraiser between the band’s performances, and after the music, everyone could either watch the city fireworks display at the new city park from there or go to the park for the show.
Lots to do and see and many happy people to visit with while celebrating our Independence.
But for me the take-away was a bit more personal. I had great fun seeing a raft of former students home to celebrate the holiday with their family and friends. I see these grown-up kids-who will always be kids to me-around town all the time (“Former Student to the Rescue!” May 23, 2021), and I saw some of them during this day, too. But I also got hugs and smiles from a whole bunch that I had not seen in a while, and I thoroughly enjoyed that. I appreciated the fact that they took the time to find me and come by for a short visit. As always, some of them I could recognize pretty quickly; others I had to ask for a name, which came with a big smile and a giggle that I didn’t know them right off. There is always something in those faces that I recognize, but can’t always find the name for, and then when they tell me their name, well, or course, it was them all the time! I saw others from a distance who smiled and acknowledged me, but weren’t able to come over, which was okay; they were still a part of my history.
I sold a good many succulents and cactus to young people, and it was encouraging that the young ones were interested in them. We cactus-lovers are always hoping to convert people to the appreciation of these unusual, highly evolved and adapted stars of the botanical world.
People of all ages were decked out in their red, white, and blue, which was nice to see in this time of social and political unrest. Little girls, and some bigger ones, had fun having their faces painted in the colors of the day and looked really cute. I suspect some faces didn’t get washed that night, to keep the artwork in tact. I don’t blame them; I wouldn’t have wanted to, either!
But everyone seemed to be having a good time, and I noticed that people came to spend the day right there, lawn chairs, wide-brimmed hats, patriotic clothes, and all.
Not a bad way to spend a Fourth of July, I must say.
Alice’s note: This story first appeared in my blog on July 5, 2021. I had a fun Independence Day celebration at the Bailey County Courthouse selling plants and visiting with grown-up kids from my teaching days at Muleshoe High School.
For The Journal