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The sign welcoming Poncha Springs residents to the town’s Fourth of July celebration. Photo by August Toevs.

There was humming in the air at the Poncha Springs Fourth of July celebration.

The humming of engines, of course, given that a parade was on. Engines new, quite old and somewhere in the middle. The thrum of trucks tugging excavation equipment behind them, the whirring of tractors and the putt-putting of very old cars, expertly cleaned, waxed and decorated for maximum celebratory impact.

This hum was occasionally broken up by the honks, beeps and AH-OOH-GA sounds that accompany each vehicle and its respective vintage. (Click below for vintage klaxon horn)

Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion organizations marched in the parade. Photo by August Toevs.

There was also the hum of actual humming, Poncha Springs residents quietly accompanying Jennifer Scanga as she delivered a stellar performance of the Star-Spangled Banner.

Following the national anthem, the hum of conversation which had preceded Scanga’s performance resumed. This was the most delightful hum of all: the ambient noise of friendly, familiar chattering. The type of conversational ease cultivated by years of run-ins-around-town and cordial waves exchanged between car drivers and pedestrians.

It is the sort of hum that only exists in towns like Poncha Springs, the cozy murmur of a community.

Like the car horns during the parade, the conversational drone wasn’t without its interruptions. Shouts of “how am I supposed to catch that” from children playing football and excited greetings hollered across the park flew through the air from time to time.

Chipeta Park had been turned into a sea of reds, white and blues, from the t-shirts down to the pies entered in the pie judging contest (cherry, blueberry and apple, exclusively). Despite the midday sun beating down from overhead, there seemed to be plenty of shade to accommodate anyone who needed it.

Quartermaster Glenn Mallory of the Angel of Mount Shavano Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3820 delivered a speech detailing the story of American independence. On the 247th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Mallory reminded listeners to reflect on the values that prompted our country’s founding.

Please celebrate this week safely, and happy Independence Day!