I was lying on my couch on Saturday, whiling away the day after work and waiting for bedtime to roll around, and I heard something familiar but out of place. There was a clop, clop, clop outside my window accompanied by bells. I have never heard that outside of my apartment in the middle of town but without lifting my head off the throw pillow I said to myself "That's a horse walking down the street." I said it matter of fact like it was no big deal because really, it wasn't. I didn't know why a horse would be walking down the middle of Wall St. in front of my Worldwide Headquarters and I didn't know exactly what all was involved with the horse making its way but I didn't question it. I don't know why it just didn't seem that strange to me. I would think more about the meaning of that statement but I am scared of the results I would come to.
Anyway, fast forward an hour or so and I am still on the couch, talking to Little Heather. She has just started a new job and I was interested to find out the details. I was also sort of trying to figure out how Little Jeffy and I could best mess with her while she was at said job. So I am talking to her and I hear a siren. Now, I live on the top floor of the tallest building in a relatively small town, from which I can see the fire station and a major intersection of two highways. So I am not unfamiliar with the sound of a fire truck or ambulance screaming by. This I could tell instantly was a fire truck. But it was different from the usual fire truck sound. It was really close by. And it wasn't going away. Then I heard it again. So I said to Little Heather "I think there is a parade going on outside my apartment." So I got up and looked out the window and there it was. A parade. And no one even bothered to tell me in advance.
I had been wondering why there were so many people downtown as I had come home that early afternoon. But the idea that a parade might be eminent had never crossed my mind. So I was mildly surprised but not shocked. Most of the parades held in town go right by my apartment, which is cool, but I rarely know when they are scheduled so I often get surprised by them. And that's cool. But this parade didn't have the look or feel of the other parades that I have seen go by. First of all, there weren't as many people lining the sidewalks as there would be for a typical parade. Usually I would expect to see people lined up on both sides of the street two or three deep for blocks in either direction. But that was not the scene before me this time. So in an effort to determine what exactly was going on I opened the screen and stuck my head out the window. I looked to my right and saw a police car, lights flashing, moving slowly down the street followed by a fire truck with its lights and siren on. Fine. I look down and see a half dozen young girls, probably in 5th or 6th grade walking down the street wearing Santa hats and waving. So I am thinking that these are Brownie Scouts or something. Cool. I know now that this is a Christmas parade of some sort. So I swing my head back to the left, expecting to see a marching band or something. Maybe a politician or local high school beauty queen sitting on the back of a 1968 Impala convertible. At least some Shriners in little cars. But that is not what I saw at all.
What I saw was a big space after the girls. An empty space through which a couple of people with their kids were wandering. Then came a wagon pulled by two reindeer with Santa Claus in it. No big deal. Pretty lame float as flats go but it's Santa Claus and honestly, he doesn't need much dressing up. Santa is great just as Santa, he doesn't need crepe paper, costumed dancers, or a John Deere pulling him along at 2 mph. He just needs himself. Even the reindeer were a little beyond what he needed. So that was cool. But that was it. Behind Santa were two more police cars, stationary in the intersection keeping the traffic at bay. After Santa went by all the people standing along the sidewalk flooded into the street like they were rushing the field after a big college football victory. Little kids and and parents all dressed up like it was the Canadian Arctic despite the fact that it was in the mid-30s outside. Then a wagon pulled by two horses filled with people went by, the same wagon that had been making the clopping noises before and would continue to circle for the rest of the afternoon. But that was it. Santa proceeded down the street to my right with his mass of followers. And that was the end of it. It was a very poor and disorganized parade. It was more like a bunch of people jaywalking actually and I didn't know what to make of it.
I even tried to do some research to figure out what I had just seen. And I didn't find much. I found out that it was the "Christmas Kickoff" but that was it. I am thinking that what I witnessed was Santa Claus arriving in town. Perhaps it was the symbolic arrival of Christmas, I am not quite sure. I didn't bother to call the number provided to ask for more details. I didn't want to know. I decided to just accept what had happened for what it was and move on. It's not the strangest thing I have ever seen and I am sure I will see stranger things as time goes on. But I am still going to assume that it was a parade; just a very poor excuse for one. But the people down there seemed to be enjoying it and I guess that is all that matters. No, I know that is all that matters. And that is on the Internet so it must be true.