Me and the Farm Manager were in the Santa Clause parade again, and I won't bore you with the details, except for this one.
The FM discovered that she had lost her debit card just before we were to embark the parade float. There ensued a hysterical search for said debit card inside and outside of our trusty ten year old GM SUV. I didn't pay all that much attention, because after all, it wasn't my debit card… but when we got back to the staging area an hour and a half later, the front passenger door was wide open, and presumably had been for an hour and a half.
It is indeed a warm tribute to the locals that nobody rifled through the vehicle, because I left my wallet with several credit cards that work in the centre console. When I say “credit cards that work” I'm talking about working well into five numbers.
But that's not why I'm remembering parades.
Parades were pretty cool when I was a little kid. My parents took me to many. I always loved the baton twirlers, and at some level I aspired to become one… just another broken dream in the big picture, I suppose.
My pal Mikey used to call ahead to reserve a parking spot when the Guelph Santa parade passed near my house (he had a couple of young daughters,) on one of the posher streets off Exhibition Park. I had the least posh house on that street, for what it's worth. Don't want to mess up my bona fides here…
But my favorite Santa parade of all time happened in the village of Mildew about twenty years ago. I was an itinerant welding instructor at the local high school, having recently retired from my actual welding career.
The wood-shop guy at the school had fashioned a very nice creche scene on the back of a heavy equipment float lent to the school by a local contractor. We had a rustic little lean-to shack in which we had the baby Jesus in the cradle, and several actual live lambs seconded to the parade by the local farmer community.
Things went south early on. We were sitting in the staging area, baby Jesus and the lambs and my children, when my daughter says to me, “hey Dad, the elves are drinking beer.”
We were parked beside the Snow White and the Elves float, sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce. I looked over, and sure enough, the Elves were indeed drinking beer! The parade float was populated with local yokels sporting elf masks. If you watched them at all, you'd see a mask go up and a beer go down… small-time hijinks in small-town Ontario!
We sat in the staging area for quite some time, watching the elves drink beer, because local tradition demands that the locals finish the “hangin' of the green” before the Santa parade starts. The hangin' of the green is where they festoon all the lamp-posts in town with green garlands and suspected Green Party voters.
Eventually the parade started and we took our place behind the drunken elves and immediately in front of the local Brownie troop.
Thing went swimmingly, as in we were swimming in lamb piss before we got two blocks into the parade. I pulled a lamb onto my lap as soon as we got to the appreciative crowds. What says “Christmas” louder than baby Jesus in his creche surrounded by baby lambs?
That baby lamb pissed all over me.
And lamb turds too.
Yup, these lovely lambs obviously had no bowel or bladder relief for at least three days prior to the parade.
But they were making up for it now!
I was determined to be a trooper for the Mildew Santa parade, so I sucked it up. Waved Santa-like at the adoring crowds while lamb piss saturated my jeans and lamb turds befouled the entire float.
We were, mercifully I thought, nearing the end of the parade route, when the miserable transmuted into the dangerous.
The wood-shop guy who had crafted the creche for baby Jesus hadn't factored in the clearance for low-hanging power lines, and as fate would have it, a block or two from the finish one of the roof timbers on baby Jesus' creche snagged one of those power lines.
I was sitting in the creche, lamb-piss-soaked and awash with lamb-turds, when I felt the entire baby Jesus shack start to tilt.
Oh my f-ing God!…
Baby Jesus was about to tumble out of His crib…
The lambs were panicking… which meant a deluge of more piss and shit.
The entire Jesus shack was going over….
And then, in the nick of time, that low-hanging wire pulled the offending plank right off the roof of the Jesus shack.
That resulted in somewhat of a bow and arrow effect. The dislodged plank, complete with six inch nails, became airborne. It sailed right over the heads of that Brownie pack behind our float and landed harmlessly in the street behind them.
That could have been headline news had things turned out otherwise.
We were lucky…
Best parade story ever!