Huck, Nell, and I dressed in turtlenecks, vests, scarves, hats, gloves, and heavy coats and went to the Twain Harte Christmas Parade last night. Years ago, I used to take my children before it was called a parade. Back then, it was simply Santa's arrival and he rolled in on the local fire truck right after the Christmas lights on the big cedar tree were turned on for the first time each year. Somehow that event has turned into a sweet little Christmas parade.
We got there early because the last time I went (two years ago with August and Anna Mae), the streets were packed, and I had to push the kids forward in front of tall people so they could see. But the weather changed all that this year. The parade attendance was light which meant we stood waiting in a soft rain for almost half an hour before it started. But the rain did not dampen the kid's enthusiasm. I bought candy necklaces from some child doing a fund-raiser, and they munched on the candy while singing along with the carolers who were on the porch of El Jardin's. Huck was alert to every song that had been played at Music Night: Jingle Bells, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, and what seemed like his favorite: Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. He also pointed out Christmas decorations that were nearly invisible to me in the dark and the rain, for instance a metal Frosty at least a football field away on the edge of the old Penny Saver parking lot. Nell meanwhile sucked her candy.
The rain also did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of paraders, nor Huck's delightful commentary which was all the more amazing because the rope set up to keep spectators out of the street hit Huck right at eye-level. This meant that he had to stoop down to look below it or lift his chin to peer over it. I suggested that he step just on the other side of it and watch but NO, that wouldn't do for this rule-following guy. So he stooped and stretched and grinned and laughed and pointed out all the things he noticed. For example, the local Corvette Club had entered at least 10 cars and he loved these "race cars" as he called them, especially the one with Santa driving. He also enjoyed the Therapy Dog group with Great Danes and Daschunds and the Corgi club with all the dogs in wreaths. The Twain Harte Kazoo Band was cheered as was an ATV all lighted up and driven by a very young person.
Meanwhile I was holding Nell who got spooked by something early on (not sure what) but was fine if I held her. She watched in quiet awe and every once in a while smiled and pointed to something she liked, for instance the Miss Tuolumne float carrying four beautiful little girls of varying ages all adorned with crowns. She also liked the fire engines which rang their sirens as they passed by.
Cindy in a heroic drive from Arnold made it in time to watch the parade but from the opposite side of the street from us. DARN! When the parade was over, she helped Huck and Nell through the crowd to the cookie and hot chocolate table and then snapped their picture in front of the Snowman that Huck had noticed earlier. She walked us back to the car and helped buckle the kids into their car seats, and then we drove her back to her truck parked at the Middle School. In short order, she had both kids laughing with musical glee as I negotiated crowded wet streets peering through windows fogged from steaming hot chocolate.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.