I was a reluctant participant in a parade this morning...
Due to external circumstances, it was my job to drive the granddaughter to school today. It happens every school day... but most often it's her grandma behind the wheel of the float.
The granddaughter is 9 years old, responsible enough for her age, and has an uncanny sense of direction - better than most adults! If the need arose, she could probably find her way to school blindfolded.
The school is about 3/4 mile away. One somewhat-busy road to cross, but there's a nice crosswalk with warning lights that can be pedestrian-activated. Totally-flat terrain - there's probably not 2 feet of elevation change from Point A to Point B... or anywhere in between.
It was indeed a parade. There were a couple school buses - they get preferred parking near the front door. The cars - most carrying one child and his/her book bag - queued up for a block-and-a-half. For a guy who rarely runs a motorcar at all, it's pretty stressful to sit there, foot on the brake, engine idling, staring at the back end of another parade participant.
I've argued unsuccessfully that Mackie would benefit if she were allowed to walk, or bike, to school every now and then - at least on nice days. (The neighbor girl goes with her - and the neighbor girl's dad picks them up and brings them home in the afternoon. At least they've got a low-key car pool.)
Times have sure changed. When I was an elementary-school child, the norm was to walk to school, or ride your bike, unless you lived a long distance. But 50-odd years later, it's pretty much understood that kids will get smashed by inattentive or impaired motorists. And the ones who don't get smashed will be abducted by predators in big black sedans.
I'm grateful for the people who are involved in the Safe Routes to School program. Maybe at some point, Mackie will be trusted to make that perilous jaunt. (There's another little girl down the street who's in first grade - she rides her bike on nice days, and so far she's somehow been able to survive the many perils. I'm sure some folks regard her parents as being totally irresponsible!)