The annual Christmas parade has always been a "thing" for our family. It started with my dad taking us and I think it was just to get us out of the house so Mom could relax and do whatever Mom's do when kids aren't around. There were some years we missed but I've always had memories of silly things that happened and my dad always seemed to have this certain look on his face when he took us. Going places with dad were more relaxed then with Mom. He let us run around, he bought us cotton candy & popcorn and he poked good hearted fun at things at the parade. He bought us McDonald's after the parade and told us not to tell Mom.
Before I had my kids I took my sisters a few times when Dad couldn't. It made me feel good to take time out of my life to bring a little joy to them. Since I've had my own kids we've tried to go, weather permitting but have missed a few. I was hoping the tradition wouldn't die once they got older. We went along with them when they were teens and dealt with some of their friends sitting in the car because they were cold, but eventually coming out to check things out.
When the grand kids were old enough to go without being bundled we headed out again. Instead of our group getting smaller it's gotten bigger. It's more like a family gathering where we get to be silly, eat doughnuts, drink hot chocolate and hopefully not freeze. My brother David was big on the parade and always made sure his girls got to go.
We have this "spot" we always try to get and by leaving at 8am were always assured to get it. This year the route changed! We had to find a spot a block over. As we were walking up they were closing the street and the island was available for the taking. We scooped in and staked our claim. Set up the chairs & blankets and made sure the kids had prime spots. All was well until about 10 minutes before the parade. Things were getting squishy. We were all about cheer and moved closer together several times to accommodate late arrivals. Then it got ugly. My sister & family were down on the end. A late arriving group of people with kids came and decided to cram in next to her. One of the larger woman was just about sitting on my sister's lap and they were shoving her kids out of their spot. One of my niece's wasn't having it. She did a little shove back at this kid twice her size and told him to move. She didn't care, she was there first and no one was getting her spot. My sister nicely told this woman that we would slide down a bit to let her kids have a spot on the curb. We did so, and big woman then squeezes in and stands right in front of my sister. I heard the arguing. Then brother-in-law stepped in and explained how this was for the kids and we've been here since 8am and could she at least stand in back of her kids. She does this eye rolling thing and excuses herself for "sleeping in". Some how it got resolved for the moment.
The parade went on, the kids were happy, warm and well snacked up. The weather was great, they got to see Auntie Nannette and Uncle Benny in the parade and were delighted that they were waved at by someone they knew. They were like celebrities. Santa came and the parade ended. We began to clean up our mess of cups, and wrappers, chairs, blankets and most of all kids. A lady on the other side of us offered the late arrival a bag for her kid's trash. She stated nicely that we should leave it as we found it. The woman poo-poos her and states that they have people to clean the mess up. The other woman states that it's proper to clean up after yourself, at which point late arrival woman says "What is up with you white people. You all think you own the world". Fighting words were coming out. We took out trash and left.
Will we go again next year. Yes. That's what us white people do.