Saturday, December 9

Xmas On The Street

I love love love totally love parades. Even though I live near the glitter capitol of the world, my town still has the adorable old-fashioned small town feel Christmas parade. This (and It's A Wonderful Life) is why I get all sniffle nosed at this time of year.

Police clear the street, people get their cameras ready, and it starts!

I sit on the curb with my family and neighbors, clapping and waving and shouting goofily at people I have never met, and will likely never see again.

The WHOLE DAMN CROWD stands, removes hats, and places hands over hearts. With great dignity and humility, old and revered VFW grandpas in uniform march with the flag.

An out of tune high school marching band plods by in mismatched uniforms.

Local elected official #1 waves to the crowd. The convertible is Brought to you by Your Local GMC Dealer.

A float from the senior center. It's really just an old hay trailer decorated with crepe paper and aluminum foil, with brittle old ladies in Santa hats singing "Jack Frost nipping at your nose." General consensus is that they are nipping at something else hidden in their afghans.

A talent-impaired kindergarten dance troupe, led by the local weather man, bribes the judges with donuts.

Miss Okra Festival Titanium Alloy Rodeo Queen In Sequins smiles charmingly at the crowd. Whistles ensue.

An out of tune middle school marching band plods by in mismatched uniforms.

Tiny Shriner cars! Ha ha!

I buy a lapel button or paper flower or something in a styrofoam cup sold by some community outreach thing I never heard of.

ROAR-BBL-BBL-BBL! Eighty Harleys swerve right and left, each piloted by a heavily bearded man weighing at least 275 pounds, sporting a Santa hat and a wreath on the handle bars. Their leather jackets proclaim their loyalty to Toys For Tots. One out of five has a woman, heavier than the pilot, blowing kisses. I think I caught one!

Screams from the tots. Horsies! A whole buncha horsies! Look at the pretty ladies in cowboy hats! The silver bridles! The manes braided with colorful ribbons! One of them rears up and comes down with a gentle clack of horseshoes. Nice horsies! Pretty ladies. Did you see the horsies?

Local elected official #2 waves to the crowd. The convertible is Brought to you by Your Local Ford Dealer.

"LEFT. LEFT. LEFT. (beat)." The ROTC marches by: perfect, crisp, proud. Be safe, young people.

The local police, fire, and emergency response vehicles drive at 0.4 mph, lights a-flashing, sirens a-squelching. Uniformed men throw itty-bitty broken candy canes to the kids.

Elementary school kids walk by, holding long PVC pipes to keep them in order (sort of.) They are wearing costumes made from paper grocery bags painted like presents (sort of.) They sing "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" accompanied by a boom box pulled in a Radio Flyer by a school parent, so they will all be singing together (sort of.) One out of four children is either scowling, crying, or sticking out his tongue. Listen up judges: they win.

A dozen or so custom muscle cars rumble by, emergency lights flashing, radios blaring "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree." There's a candy apple red Mustang, a lightning bolted Charger, a yellow pearl Corvette, a flamed up Thunderbird, a low rider Packard, and OH OH OH! Ain't no Christmas stuff, but DAMMIT that's cool!

Local elected official #3 waves to the crowd. The convertible is Brought to you by Your Local Dodge Dealer.

Hey, look! It's that celebrity guy! You know, the one on that show? On TV on Tuesday? Or is it Thursday? I didn't know he lived here! Go Local Celebrity Guy!

Another out of tune high school marching band plods by in mismatched uniforms. This one is in the privileged position of being second-to-last in the parade, squirting out the strains of "You Better Watch Out..." because right behind them is the whole reason families came out on this cold December morning, forking over dollars for mylar streamers on sticks, warming hands on cheap instant apple cider, trudging along row after row of cheesy handicrafts, pointing out to the kids the plastic electric wreaths missing half the bulbs hanging from the streetlights the same way they have for the last forty years, all of this just to witness


On a fire truck. Or on top of a Kenworth. Or on a draft horse. Or on the most incrediblest boss reindeer sleigh. Or sauntering along the gutter with a pillow case over his shoulder surrounded by prancing Presbyterian congregationists in bad elf costumes.


And it's my town. And it's your town. And we all share it, or should.

Merry Christmas to you all, but mostly to the unknown, unsung, unremembered everyday folks that make these holiday memories possible for kids from one to ninety-two.


tiff said...

You switched to blogger beta. Thou are a brave soul, dear KF.

We have the exact same parade in our 2 adjoining towns...and I love it too. My normally dry eyes do tend to get a little swimmy, and a certain tightness comes over the throat. There are some times that are perfect, just the way they are, and I would submit that small-town parades exemplify such perfection.

In other words - I like 'em too!re

Anonymous said...

KF, this was almost as good as watching the real thing. Minus the cold weather and whining kids, of course.

I LOVE the small town parades; the kind that don't have an overabundance of professional floats, but rather fun, unique things like choreographed shopping cart-pushers, dances-with-lawnmowers (sounds like a Kevin Costner movie), a half-pipe with wheels, where we can all watch the local skateboarders and BMX bikers do spectacular wipeouts and mid-air collisions... Big cities have nothing on this kind of stuff...

Anonymous said...

Ahh, the many times I have witnessed the carnage of the local Christmas parade with you, watching your children participate in that time-honored event. I can still taste the instant apple cider on the back of my tongue.

Wish I could have been there.

Anonymous said...

By the way, can't seem to log in with my normal name. Something to do with the new format?

Mom said...

We, too, have our have our little foothill town nighttime "Festival of Lights" Parade where everything from unicycles to goats with horns are decorated with battery-powered Christmas lights...Draft horses, mini-cars, church floats with dangerously swaying angels, and a cherry-picker PGE truck decked out like a fire-breathing dragon.

Of course we also have our curmudgeonly Scrooges which declare that we can't call it "Festival of Lights" because that phrase belongs to the Jewish Holiday of Hanukkah...and the even more curmudgeonly Lumber store that employs my husband, which just has to have 24-hour shifts to do required inventory on that particular parade night... and the Chamber of Commerce that declared that this year the parade would be going uphill so the merchants could make more money from parade watchers, thereby making it quite difficult for classic cars with clutches, moms pushing lighted strollers, and the afore-mentioned unicyclists, not to mention the little pavement-scraping weiner-dogs clad in loaves of bread.

Diary of an irish woman said...

thank you kindly, it put Christmas spirit in my heart to read it, just stick Bing Crosby here on the turntable and imagine a white christmas :-) The best to all of yours.

Kingfisher said...

"pavement-scraping weiner-dogs clad in loaves of bread" wins Kingfisher's Most Absurdly Funny Description Award for 2006.

Bebti said...

I couldn't believe I was actually given this for word verification: