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Carol Perkins: Life's Chapters, Four - Parades and Santa
Previous Chapter: Life's Chapters, Three - My Town at Christmas
By Carol Perkins
Chapter Four brings us to Christmas parades and Santa. Years ago, each county school traditionally entered a float, as well as various school clubs, local civic organizations, churches, and individual families.
The Christmas parade was a "humdinger." Santa usually rode on the fire truck and threw candy to anxious children, who dashed into the street to gather as much as they could without thought of being run over by the following float. Santa moved to a picture-taking location and parents lined up with their children, some of whom were bawling.
The high school marching band led the parade from the parking lot of the high school (before it moved to the hill), up the hill where Jr. Foods once was, around the square, and back to the school.
I mention the hill because that was an obstacle for the tractor or trucks pulling the floats.
Stopping and creeping a few feet at a time strained the drivers, and those riding felt the jerk each start and stop. One year when I was a senior, a jerk ended up with my good friend Judy rolling off the back of the FHA float, taking the decorations with her.
When it didn't come around the square, the waiting sponsors dashed toward the school to find a group of disappointed girls and my friend wrapped in crepe paper. That year the Beta Club float was a group of red "singing poinsettias." A dozen of us rode on our knees with our faces stuck out of red flower petals, singing carols along the way.
Building a float required hours of preparation. Chicken wire was wrapped around the wagon bed, then stuffed with napkins, and sometimes sprayed red or green. If the napkins weren't pushed in the holes tightly, they would fly off along the route. Many teens worked on several floats, going from one barn to another. I am thankful for the adults who volunteered to help us because the memories of working on the floats were more fun than riding on them, especially on my knees.
Small town parades may not have the flair of the Macy's parade, but what they do have is people working somewhere in a barn, fighting the cold, sipping a cup of hot chocolate, and making memories. I'm all about making memories.
You can contact Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story was posted on 2021-12-10 17:05:02
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