I didn’t remember to take my phone, with its camera – and I’m glad.
I’m also glad I live in a place where advertisements, banners, newspaper notices, and PARADE banners bearing the words “Kinsmen Santa Claus Parade” carry no evil or untoward connotations of any kind – unless you are a jealous supporter of the Rotary Club, and they were in the parade, too.
I have never seen so many huge, beautiful, shiny & chromed-up industrial trucks, tow trucks, crane trucks, vintage fire trucks, emergency response trucks, beach patrol jeepy things, lawn care company trucks, petroleum industry pickup trucks, and whatever a “Badger ™ Daylighter” is. (Underground excavation with lighting, is my guess from the massive vehicle’s impressive attachments.) Some of the guys driving and pulling the flatbed floats had their wide-eyed, happy toddlers on their knees. Some of the guys made sure the trucks made a lot of noise. It was suitably festive and awe-inspiring, especially if – like me – you enjoy feeling five years old. And I did. Thanks to LEDs, twinkling lights were festooned everywhere. The crowd was devoted and big, but small town big, with room enough to see all.
The parade was to start at Exmouth at six p.m., and was to make its way down Christina Street to Wellington. That might be about two kilometres. I live in the middle. At six, I could see the police lights approaching, so I went downstairs in my new, long puffy coat, and sat in its toasty warmth on a low concrete wall for over an hour at one of the best Santa Claus parades I’ve ever seen.
It started with the police playing with their flashing lights and sirens and waving like lunatics. Next, a car dealership transported the local Noteworthies: village, town, municipality, province and federal representatives, who were riding in many examples of fun, glossy automobiles. Some of the Worthies walked between the dealership’s fine offerings. Symbolic and silly, because the kids had eyes only for noise, sparkle, and THE MAN, THAT MAN, THAT NORTH POLE MAN.
Everybody in the parade, which must have been the half of the population of Southwestern Ontario and some of our Michigan neighbours not sitting or standing along the street watching – waved, and waved, and sang, and shouted greetings, or handed out candy. Except one little girl on the softball organization’s trailer, who was UTTERLY FLAKED OUT. She’ll go down as The Kid Who Slept Through The 2016 Parade, Despite the Noise and Enthusiastic Hubbub.
My favourite participants included ten real tricked-out cowgirls on tricked-out western-style horses. Two of the women stood on their saddles for the duration. Astoundingly impressive. If you look them up on Google, they’re not the porn ones. They’re canadiancowgirls.com. Then there were THE WESTERN OUTLAWS!!! Whose banner hinted at mayhem -nay! Danger! – until we all saw “EXTREME LAWN MOWER RACERS”, with some of their members speeding and scooting around trucks and paraders and marchers in expectedly EXTREME daredevil fashion. Not a few guys got some ideas there.
One of the churches persuaded a large number of teenagers to sit morosely and motionless in fake beards and bedsheets on a flatbed helpfully named JESUS IS BORN. PERIOD. I believe they were Lutheran, and they do not go in for exclamation points. We have all been invited to services on Sunday, too, which was nice. The best part about that flatbed, though, was the two sheep in a crate under a spotlight: one chewing thoughtfully, the other bearing a haughty look of absolute disgust.
But it was a concrete cutting business, which shall go unnamed, that wins my prize for Minimalist and Slightly Begrudging Effort. I can hear one end of the telephone conversation:
“Angelo! They want money for the parade again!”
‘We still got those lights?’
“They only go over the top of the front windshield on the cube van!”
‘Put the lights on the truck and tell your brother he’s driving again this year.’
“He won’t wave at anybody, Angelo.”
‘So he doesn’t wave.’
They do driveways, pools, and assorted concrete cutting. And in a small town, you just put your truck in the parade. TA DA! Christmas.
There was a scaled down old-fashioned train with matching WHOOO-WHOOOO! that may have been a recording.
There were some excellent drummers, and a couple of radio stations, and some impressively in-tune and on-beat high school marching bands. A Christian school collected for The Good Shepherd food bank.
The company that owns and manages my apartment building and others in town had a flatbed themed “Finding Nemo/Dory”. Fish costumed persons shook hands with tots along the route.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten somebody. It was an hour of fun, with no break in the moving presentation.
In the elevator, I asked a teenager if he’d seen Santa.
“My friends thought it was stupid, but, yeah.”
You got a candy cane out of it, too, I said.
“I like being a kid,” he said.