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Our parade

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I can't really say I preferred it to the Rose Parade or to Macy's annual extravaganza, but our tiny community parade did have qualities all its own. When seen approaching from the distance, our parade resembled nothing so much as a clog in traffic, for the majority of participants simply drove in their cars. The cars had been rendered festive by virtue of the crepe paper streamers that were taped to the chassis.

Some cars did not even have streamers, and I suspect that these were normal traffic vehicles whose drivers found themselves unable to pass the parade. The drivers resigned themselves to crawling along as part of the festivities, and as the spirit of the event took hold, they smiled and waved with the best of them.

The really top-notch public processions always include a few celebrities, those high-visibility people who need only show their faces to delight a crowd. Our parade tried to follow suit. It reportedly included a figure from the world of sports. No one I spoke to knew who this fellow was, but it was said that he was ``a fairly good wrestler in 1936.''

Although we saw several men who might've fitted this description, we were never certain which of them he was. So our sports figure provided something of the fun of that old TV game show in which a panel had to wear blindfolds and try to guess who the ``mystery celebrity'' was. In our case, however, the mystery was alive even without the blindfolds.

About midway through the parade came the equestrian unit -- which lived up to the word ``unit'' in that it was composed of a single gray mare. The beast looked tired and seemed to be weaving slightly. Possibly she was out of shape and was winded from the trek, for she had the appearance of an animal unaccustomed to any activity more demanding than standing around watching the hillside erode. I have never seen a horse sit down, but this one looked willing to be the first.

For me, the intimacy and informality of our parade were exemplified by a woman, presumably a den mother, who marched in the company of about eight Cub Scouts. A friend of hers among the spectators spotted her and called out, ``Hi, Martha. Are you coming to exercise class Thursday?'' Martha halted the forward progress of her contingent and yelled to the sidelines in response, ``No, I have to go to my sister's. Remember you met her at Lundquists' ? Anyway, she's got jury duty, so I said I'd wa tch the kids.'' She went on to shout that she wasn't sure how to occupy the kids' time but was going to bring some games along.

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