I believe the last time I attended the Cowan Christmas Parade, I was marching in it playing my trombone as a member of the Franklin County High School Marching Band. That means the young men and women marching in the 55th Cowan Christmas Parade were not even a thought in this world at the time. I know I just dated myself, but I had to give the readers some perspective. If my memory serves me right, my very first participation in the Cowan Christmas Parade was as a member of the South Trojan Middle School Marching Band. Since leaving Cowan, I’ve never made it back to see the parade. I’ve been back to Cowan numerous times so the grandparents could see the little ones who are not so little anymore, but I’ve never made time for the parade. As luck would have it, my calendar was open this year. Not only did I want to observe the parade, I wanted to capture some photos to preserve a memory of one of my fondest experiences growing up in the sleepy little town at the foot of the mountain.
Over the years, I’ve developed a passion for photography. I love street photography and documenting events. I’ve documented events like Christmas parades, hot air balloon festivals, sporting events, Trump rallies, and The Women’s March in Nashville, just to name a few. I’ve even found myself standing between State Troopers and political groups like ANTIFA. Capturing people doing what they do is my favorite pastime. Needless to say, I was excited to shoot my hometown Christmas parade.
It was a perfect day for a parade, sunshine and temperatures reaching the sixties. The only negative was that the harsh 1 o’clock sun coupled with the northeast direction of the parade route gave me a serious backlight situation. Backlighting can be good when you are in control of your subjects, but it can be a challenge getting a good exposure across the frame when your subjects are constantly moving. Sometimes you just have to take what you got and run with it. Ok, let’s get to the pictures. I hope you enjoy the slideshow.
The one part of this parade that I forgot about was all the candy that is tossed at the kids. Yes, this is done in just about all parades, but Cowan takes it to the next level. I believe every other float, if not all, threw out candy. I had to dodge candy grenades whenever I passed a float and I also had to dodge kids darting in and out picking up the candy. Kids were standing along the parade route with plastic bags. Some had garbage bags! It was almost like Halloween and Christmas merged. I know the kids love to see Santa Claus at the end of the parade, but chasing that candy on the ground had to be a close second.
I had a blast! It was so much fun taking this stroll down memory lane. I even ran into some familiar faces, albeit faces with more wrinkles and more gray hairs, but still familiar. To end my day, I drove up to the cross in Sewanee to take in the sunset. I grabbed a few pictures and drove back to Cowan and made some final photos of the Christmas lights in the downtown area.
I know the cross is in Sewanee, but to me, it’s a part of Cowan. I grew up gazing at the cross from my backyard. One of the first things I did as a kid, with my first telescope, was not turn it toward the moon or the stars – I pointed it at the cross. Don’t get me started on the railroad museum. I spent many days climbing and running all over that train. I spent countless hours watching the model trains inside run their coarse over and over again. Those were the days! It seems things were much simpler then. I even brought my kids back during their younger years so they could experience the museum and see their family name on the museum plaque.
The Monterey Station is of significance also. It was called Monterey Mills when I worked there and I believe it was Genesco prior to that. I worked at Monterey Mills during the summers while in college. My whole family and extended family worked there as well at some point in time. I sewed fabric together and ran the shears that was comprised of three shearing machines which all took the material down to a certain level. I folded the fabric onto a cart at the end of the line. I got really good at that job. Those blades were sharp! Later on I got to be part of the maintenance detail. This was good training for my field of study, mechanical engineering. I had a good experience in that factory, but it sure did make me study hard when I was back in school! I apologize for rambling on, but this was a homecoming of sorts for me. My wife says I’m long winded. I guess she’s right. Anyway, I hope to do this again. If you like photography and want to catch my next photographic venture, subscribe to my blog or Like and follow me on my Facebook Page at Shuttering Thru Life. Thanks for reading!