On duty: Kijana Millett-Pratt, left, and Veronica Douglas in position yesterday as they ‘guarded’ their spot on Front Street. *Photo by Glenn Tucker
On duty: Kijana Millett-Pratt, left, and Veronica Douglas in position yesterday as they ‘guarded’ their spot on Front Street. *Photo by Glenn Tucker

Veronica Douglas and Kijana Millett-Pratt are May 24 fanatics.

Last year I was walking near the Number Six Shed, when I glimpsed a young lady holding a clip board with a colourcoded document.

I looked down on the ground and there was tape — and this was a week before the holiday.

I asked what she was doing and she revealed to me that she was currently doing a shift in her family’s schedule.

They take turns “guarding” their spot, which runs the length of the car park, commencing 10 days before the holiday. No, that was not a typo. I meant 10 days.

Something told me to visit the spot again this year and who do I find? Ms Douglas and Mrs. Millett- Pratt, sharing a shift.

The latter told me she’d been there since 5am, compared to Ms Douglas’ solitary hour. It was 12.30 in the afternoon.

The women shared their story with me, about how their families met 33 years ago as they took up the stretch of sidewalk collectively.

They said as the years wore on they each decided to start schedules for coverage to ensure that no one took their spots and two years ago, they amalgamated their efforts.

Approximately 15 members undertake shifts to ensure their tape is not removed. Sounds insane, right? Not to them.

“I just laugh at the critics,” Mrs. Millet-Pratt said.

“It is now tradition. My daughter loves it, although my 21-year-old son thinks I’m crazy.” But what makes the area so special? “This is the Tucker’s Town of spectator spots,” says Ms Douglas, with a fake British accent and a giggle.

The ladies say the families have become good friends over the years and that guarding the spot for the 10 days is well worth it as on the day close to 80 of their family and friends enjoy the fruits of their labour.

Fully recognizing that the sidewalk is not their personal property, the ladies admit they have spotted others trying to claim a piece of their spot, but have handled it diplomatically.

“I just go to them and tell them, sorry but the whole sidewalk is taken. They can try to argue, but don’t.

We’ve been here longer,” says Mrs. Millett-Pratt.

So this year, I’ve decided that I am going to sit with their families instead of looking for a spot of my own because as the old adage goes: if you can’t beat ’em, you may as well join ’em!