Laura Rann, the volunteer coordinator at the James River State Park, contacted me and asked if I would operate the sweep for the batteau Madison on an important adventure. As I’m not usually inclined to turn down a batteau trip, I said I’d love to help. It turned out that the adventure was to be a parade in Amherst. I have ridden on a batteau in a parade on several occasions before, so I thought I knew what to expect. This was to be a different sort of parade, it was called a reverse parade.
The way a reverse parade works, the parade participants are static displays along the side of the road, and a parade of vehicles go through the town, waving hello and yelling words of holiday cheer out the window as they pass. It was definitely the easiest batteau trip I’ve taken, in terms of not having to worry about rocks and steering us into danger. It was a very rainy evening, however, so we all stood in the rain and chilly weather for about three hours and waved at the people in their nice warm vehicles as they drove past. It would have been miserable, but for two things: the crew on the batteau Madison kept up a positive attitude and were determined to have a good time, and the very lovely friendly people of Amherst who slowed down to talk, or yell, or just wave and smile.