AS I WAS SAYING: Everyone loves a parade
South of the border, they rely on the calendar to rev their engines on Black Friday, but we continue to be more civil and less commercial to light up the start to our holiday time in Quinte.
We throw a parade. Everybody’s got one.
Everyone needs one.
Now, before we get too deep into the sentiment, I will confess right here to a smidgen of Scrooge in me when it comes to parades. They are not my favourite part of the festivities, but as long as thousands and thousands brave colder temperatures on lawn chairs at the side of the road, who am I to publicly decry the practice?
First of all, the fact that every city, town, village and hamlet across Quinte throws one is another indication of the strong social fabric we enjoy in our beautiful corner of Canada. Neighbours build floats, social clubs tune up brass instruments and kids wear any costume they can to get on board.
There are long held predictable themes of glad tidings, best wishes and hopes for a healthy new year which speaks to a deeper yearning during the holidays that for all the presents and parties, we do really want to make things better for those little angels and shepherds on the nativity floats.
Secondly, where else can you invite everyone and throw a free party? It truly is an inclusive gathering. The fact that regardless of your age, gender, race, creed, orientation, mobility or political affiliation, that same parade will march as proudly past you as everyone else. No distinctions. No omissions.
Also, it is a public demonstration of the love we harbour for our neighbours. Sure, we drop off the letters to the North Pole, but we also drop bills and change into firefighter boots, toys for every town’s Toy Drive and we fill buses with food for area food banks.
But the real benefit of the parade is the public gathering that fosters the desire to be “community”. It is the time to get outside and stand shoulder to shoulder and sit hip to hip with best friends or total strangers in a spirit of good will.
And it doesn’t matter if you are a veteran of many Santa Claus parades or whether you can’t remember the last time you waved to him as he rode by, there is an undeniable magic that takes place inside us. There is an almost involuntary release of imagination, charity and hope with a sense that better things lie ahead.
So I’ll see you along the route. Feel free to wave, OK? Bring your phone and we’ll take parade selfies if you like.
And when the last float turns down Main Street and the Big Guy rolls into sight, it’s your reminder that Christmas has come again. May it be the brightest you’ve enjoyed and may 2017 bring you and yours health, happiness and success.
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