Wednesday, December 08, 2010

ok so where was i? got sick for about four days; still am; i'd like to think it wasn't the parade; it was more likely a nasty sore throat/flu that came through and set everyone back a bit. i'd walked in the parade, with the boys, on saturday, and was fine; i'd like to think it wasn't that. but i really got it bad the last couple of days.

first time in sixteen years, i'd been able to walk in the parade, and that was partly because my youngest son joined a school that has a float, and they invited everyone. we have to go, i told the nine-year-old, though he wasn't so enthusiastic, and we all wore lights and walked the length of the town, south to north, in the cold evening. this is one of the few towns that has its one biggest parade on one of its coldest days, but it does, and it's tradition, and everyone gets out there for it, and i figure, you have to walk. but first, i had to park in the way north, and walk the length of the parade backwards, so we'd all end up where the car was, and not have to walk back to it. on that trip, i parked, after facing a huge line of traffic, and set out north to south on foot thus seeing the entire thing. it turned out our float was about the last to start, so that i got to it just as it was starting, and was able to turn around and march the whole thing, with the float, and with my own kids, virtually start to finish.

now just about every group has a lit-up float, the shriners, the big churches, the schools, the cub scouts, you name it, and people cheer or boo them depending on their wishes. some get overly religious but they've been discouraged from that over the years; one year they had the blood coming off of jesus' hand and that was a little too much, but, there's a lot of religion in there. i didn't see the pagans this year; they would sometimes be booed, or worse yet, be greeted with stone silence, as i heard and saw this year, the rainbow coalition was. it's a contentious town, they aren't much for holding back their feelings, or being polite, as they would in, say, iowa, or maybe tennessee. they belt it right out. our own float was greeted with mostly cheers, especially at the biker bar, though i couldn't figure out the affinity; maybe they cheered for virtually everyone. people who knew us yelled out our name; that was good. you live in a small town, you march; people see you, it's as it should be.

so i have two gigs in the week, one on sunday, at the alternative gift fair (picture soon i hope), and one today, at work, where teachers got together and sang carols; i was more proud of this last one, because i sounded better; in between, i was very sick, but taught anyway, and worried about trying to play when i was sick. somehow teaching when i'm sick isn't half as bad, but should be; i taught as many as five hours a day, practically keeling over, not even drinking coffee; but, now i feel like i've come through the fire, i'm on the downward slope. and, it's almost over. our one big break is almost upon us.

so i'm teaching, and playing the fiddle, but i keep thinking about scenes from the parade: lousy and freezing high school bands; a slightly better college band; a jolly santa up there; a small strand of battery-operated hannukah lights, bought at the local store; people hawking their church or their thing, or whatever; somebody parking their family in the center of a closed main street, for the evening; horse poop, underfoot, in the cold evening, as we walked. it was actually not as bad as it has been, some years; it sometimes rains, snows or even sleets. and it can be icy. it's a cold time of year. and the lights reflect against the store windows downtown, and people shiver as they watch. it was slightly better, actually walking in it, though the boys saw less of it, but they did get a sense of what kind of town they live in, and what people in it do, on a cold december night.


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