Saturday, December 13, 2008

reflections on a small-town Christmas parade

Points to ponder:

- in small town parades, there are generally more people in the parade than there are parade watchers.

-most of the parade participants are children. Children in costume, local youth groups, children who just feel like being there, the local hockey heroes, and big kids who get to drive expensive cars sponsored by the local dealership. And if they're really lucky, the kids may get to ride in a snowplow, a fire truck, an enormous earth-mover or a bus. There are about seven actual floats-flkatbeds with people riding. The rest of the parade seems to be comprised of large, shiny, noisy vehicles. The trucks barely fit the width of the road I'm standing on.

-watching the rest of the parade after you've marched the entire route (okay, it's a small town, the route is not that big) is not conducive to warm feet or hands.

-everyone really does know everyone else. Except me, because I don't live there.

-it is really unwise to place families with small children between the fire truck and the nifty snow plow. In the dark. With sirens and horns wailing while small kids whimper and hold their ears

- you cannot sing Christmas carols while strategically placed between a fire truck and a snow plow

-somebody must get a thrill out of having trucks drive slowly past them, with no decorations, sounding their air horns every 30 feet or so, deafening the spectators as they trundle past. It's not me.

-Tractors and snowplows with Christmas lights. Oh my.

-It is also unwise to throw candy from a float in a night parade. This sends small children scurrying into the street, directly in the path of a transport truck or a snowplow.

-I must wear winter boots next time, not hikers with wool socks. Frozen feet do not improve my humour.

-A rural community and a parade with only one live animal - a dog pulling a small cart filled with stuffed animals. Not a horse in sight, in spite of the large Mennonite population.

- No music. No marching bands, bagpipes, baton twirlers. We're talking really small town here.

-Kids love it when you recognize them and shout their names as they ride past.

-Somebody must really like transport trucks....

-Those travel mugs that all the adults are carrying? They're not filled with coffee....

-if the firetruck in the lead cannot keep a good pace, child care workers and parents pulling wagons full of children end up running down the street for brief periods of time, in order to avoid being run over by the snow plow that is following them.

-if your child is in the middle of a group of children that she likes and feels like she's part of something big, she may ask (several times) why we can't move to that small town and live there. And saying "your dad wants to see you during the week" is not a satisfactory answer as far as she's concerned.


Earth Muffin said...

Oh wow...I have yet to be subjected to participating in such a parade. Our town holds a raging Halloween parade, but it's bigger that the place you're describing so it does have the marching bands and no snow plows and it is safe for the kids to chase candy in the street. If I were there, I think I'd have been asking for a little of whatever was in those insulated mugs, please!

Avril Fleur said...

I hope you got paid o/t for that! It's almost enough to elicit a "bah humbug". ;)

Camlin said...

You know, it's a mixed bag. It wasn't all bad. The kids were thrilled to be able to participate. I grew up in a small town, and our parade was much the same, although I don't remember quite so many's actually more fun to be part of the action than to watch. There really wasn't much to look at.

Hence the mugs, I think in hindsight. Something for the grownups. At least the ones who weren't driving.

Emily waved at everyone and ate as many candy canes and chocolate kisses as I could unwrap with my numb fingers. She deemed it a roaring success.

Camlin said...

Nope...I did it because I thought I would be able to sing Christmas carols. And because Emily wanted to go.

Maria said...

I admit here and now that I detest parades. I only go because Liv likes them. I wonder now if that is the case for all the adults. And maybe that is why we drink bourbon out of coffee holders....

Avril Fleur said...

Hot chocolate with Bailey's Irish Cream is usually my drink of choice in cold-weather activities to keep me warm!

Camlin said...

Mmmmmm....Bailey's. And I don't even drink.

thewishfulwriter said...

What a great post! One of my favorite days took place in a town called Black Mountain, NC. They had a tiny parade and I happened upon it. The children were dressed like angels (holiday parade) and there were exactly two fireman and three police officers. It was so endearing and made me want to move to Black Mountain immediately :) Thanks for bringing that memory back!