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No One Expects a Christmas Parade!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

It had been a good day. I had painted six tree swallows, which is about all the swallows somebody ought to try to paint in a day. I was thinking about going to town, and going for a run too, because the sky was just like lead and it wasn't doing me any good to sit any more. These winter days that end around 3:30 pm get to me. I'm a Leo, a sun sign. How I ended up in the Mid-Ohio Valley for life I...well, let's just say I have to work around these winters. 

Yeah Baconbuddy. I feel it too. I'd lie on her bed with you, but I don't think that would help either of us.

So I headed for town with my running gear in a tote bag, planning to re-stock the house and the bird seed bins, do something worthwhile on a dark Saturday afternoon, and cap it off with an evening run.

By the time I finished the grocery shop at 4:45 it was completely dark out. @#$@#$!!! Muttering, I decided to run the river trail anyway. Maybe there'd be some pretty lights to look at. I hoped there would be streetlamps at least. I headed for the river, my groceries in keep-cold bags in the Subaru.

There floated the WP Snyder, decommissioned, just a tourist attraction now. John Hartford once posed in her wheelhouse for an album cover. I miss ol' John. I grew up watching the Glen Campbell show, watching him tap-dance on a pallet while playing the banjo and singing his own songs, and I knew even as a little kid that he was something else.
 He will never be duplicated.

The river trail was DARK. I mean, a weak orange streetlamp every 1/3 mile or so, if I was lucky. And too-long stretches of complete darkness along the sneaky river, slipping by. My situational awareness was sky-high. Nobody in their right mind runs the river trail after dark, I reassured myself. Oh great. I guess that's what was bothering me. 

I trotted past the hospital where both our kids were born, could see the room where it happened. And I thought and thought about them, and about all the people I have loved, some here, some not.

I was happy to turn around at the fairgrounds boatlaunch and head back toward the lights of town. Made record time, I did... I kept hearing sirens blatting and blooping. It sounded like what they do when a line of fire trucks joins a parade. Come to think of it I'd seen people setting up lawnchairs along Front Street as I embarked, and parking had been hard to find. Hm hm hm. Was the Marietta Christmas parade tonight? It was always on a Saturday during the day, before...

As I finished my fourth mile I saw a float with a giant manger, and some indeterminate object draped within. A giant baby, mayhaps. The biggest Messiah in the world. Some little kids were waving and saying Merry Christmas from their stations on the float. I was hooked.

Citizens Bank. Dunno what it is, a white Christmas turkey?

Oh! Oh! A front-end loader of presents! For me??

I stopped at Twisted Sisters, one of my very favorite boutiques, to chat with owner Becky Pritchett and she said that Huntington Bank has just come to Marietta, and they offered to sponsor the Christmas parade. And this is the first ever held at night, and there were 50 entrants, way more than ever before. A smashing success! And the clever lighting on the floats and people was delightful. 

Every float had people walking alongside it with paint buckets full of candy, which was all Tootsie Rolls, Dum-Dums and Dubble Bubble.  Not a caramel-pecan turtle or Reeses' cup or Mounds or Heath Bar in sight. They were throwing the candy on the ground, as is the tradeeshun during the Marietta Christmas Parade. It's weird the first time you see it. People get down and scramble for the candy. It would take a damn good piece of candy to get me down on my hands and knees. Tootsie Rolls, nuhh. Good thing they didn't toss out caramel-pecan turtles or Reeses' cups or Mounds or Heath Bars. I definitely would have gotten down on all fours for those.

 The Shriners represented. There were fezzes a-poppin'. 

Because obviously the best possible thing you could find under the Christmas tree is a couple four-wheelers. Vrrroooom!!  Hey. I see your roll bar, but where's your helmet?

A happy snowman. I liked this one.

I kept running, meeting it head-on, so I could see the whole parade. At the end was the best: The Marietta Wall of Sound, or The Wall for short. It's Marietta High School's award-winning reasonably flashy and very solid marching band. 

The kettledrum beat echoed in my sternum. I love that. I feel like a bird when that happens. 

The drum majors walked backwards on their tippytoes. I wondered how sore you are in the morning after you do that for an evening. I'm happy just to trot forward on my flat feet. 

Some players were individually lit. I think there were a LOT of Double A batteries employed in this parade. 

Besides the band, my favorite thing were miniature horses ridden by miniature kids, all lit up.

Oh yes I loved that.

As I drove home I suddenly realized that I was no longer sad. The gloom had dissipated. And for that I was thankful. 

It doesn't usually take a parade. But a parade works.

C'est Bonn.


Wowee. Williamstown had its parade about the same time. Oh to be a plane flying low up the river tonight. I, too came home smiling. . . with a miniature Toots Roll in my pocket. And oh, by-the-way, John Hartford was up to my house walking around the yard
Alas. . .I was in Charleston

What a lovely, serendipitous way to have your gloom dispelled! I, too, feel the lack of sunlight keenly. Total darkness by 5 pm?? Bleargh! I find myself nodding off over whatever I am doing by 9 pm. It's maddening, but there is nothing for it but to call it a night and just sleep.

Posted by Anonymous November 30, 2014 at 4:08 AM

1024I lived in the north as a child but now could NEVER survive those short, dark days. But hang in there and one day, you,too can have a migrating life. I do love northern summers and southern winters.

But I loved the parade.

I got a couple of "natural light" bulbs "for the plants" but they cheer up me and the dog too...

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