Saturday, November 20, 2010

Peeper's First Parade

Tonight was the big Christmas parade here in our little town. It is a huuuuuuge deal.

Actually, there were three parades in the county today. The first steps off at 9:21 am (it's sponsored by the 92.1 FM radio station), then many of the participants have lunch and head over to a neighboring town for their early afternoon parade, then get an early dinner and head up to our town for the evening parade.

There are usually some bands, dance schools, and the sort from farther away than you'd think would bother for one parade, but for three, it's worth the trip.

Originally, we were going to go to the afternoon parade, since Shrike had to work this evening, but it turned out that it wasn't early enough for her to make it either. We briefly considered the morning one, but blew that off pretty quickly. So, Peeper and I ended up going on our own this evening.

Now, I'm not sure how it plays out in the other towns, but at our parade, everybody is there. I mean every. Body. Three and four and five bodies deep on the sidewalks, where they've set out their chairs at the crack of dawn to claim their spots.

Peeper and I, on the other hand, arrived in time to see the local high school band - which kicks off the parade, right behind the motorcycle cops go by.

Funny story about the motorcycle cops. A few years ago, Shrike and I were waiting for the parade to start, and saw two officers on motorcycles take their positions in front of the band. Just then, we head someone behind us say, "Oh look. I guess (the town) got another bike!"

Yes, before that, the police department had one motorcycle.

Why even bother?

But, anyway.

Peeper really seemed to enjoy herself, although you certainly couldn't tell it from these photos.

Here we are, at the beginning of the parade.

The Big Finish of the parade is, of course, the arrival of Santa Claus, and for those standing near the square (like we were), the lighting of the tree.

Right after we waved at our friends on the firetruck, Peeper spotted this guy walking by. Well, nothing for it, we had to track him down and talk to him and take a photo. Which involved getting my camera ready, and giving it to his handler, then digging out my wallet for a dollar (he was raising money for the homeless shelter) and it was a big production. But a cute photo.

When we finished I turned around, and saw everyone leaving.

What? We missed Santa?!?

About that time, I saw the friend that we'd been standing by, and she said, "There you are! Look, he's still on the square, he hasn't lit the tree yet."

So, I told Peeper, "Look over there, the tree's going to . . . " as I turned around and saw that it was now lit.


Well, I'd told her we were going to see Humhummuh, so by God, I was going to see Humhummuh.

Luckily, the goes sort of in a circle - down Main Street for several blocks, cuts over one block, then back up the opposite direction, and ends a block from where it started.

We were standing on the square, which is at the cross street about halfway down the route.

So, I hauled it ("It" being my own big ass and the almost-25-pound toddler strapped to my chest) up the road, in hopes of making it to the other street before Santa got there.

When we arrived and got settled, and I started paying attention to the parade, I realized that we probably had another good fifteen minutes or so of "reruns" before the end.

So, we sat stood through all that again, and then waved at our friends on the fire truck again, and then a small band went by, and there he was!

"Look, Peeper!" Who's that?! Do you see Santa?!"



"There he is! Wave at him!"


"There he goes!"

Yep. All that effort to actually see him, just so that she could be heartbroken when he just drove right by without stopping to talk to her.

I did get her settled down fairly quickly, by promising that we'll go see him at the mall and sit on his lap, "but only if you want to" - "Wap! Wap! Wap!" - and take a picture. 

Of course, the extra couple of blocks we'd gone to catch Santa was in the opposite direction from my car, but we stopped at a little diner for some dinner on the way back to it, so that walk didn't seem so bad. 

I thought it all went very well for her first parade experience, actually. She enjoyed it and I survived (and enjoyed) it, and the weather could not have been more perfect - chilly enough to be seasonal, but not really cold, neither of us was wearing a hat or gloves and we were quite comfy.

The only thing that would have made it better (other than catching Santa on the first go-round) is if Shrike could've been there with us.

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