Sunday, December 14, 2014

Good Morning Justin

Letter to my Son
Sunday, 14 December

Good Morning Justin…

Saturday night was the occasion for the biggest event of the year.  It was time to flood the center of town with season greeters dressed in their best winter garb.  We all count the days until the annual Kannapolis Christmas Parade.

Out front of the Old Stone Vino they were selling hot chocolate and cider so long as it lasts.  As it turns out it didn’t last all that long.

The owners of this establishment once provided the townsfolk with fine cuisine and wine that featured intriguing complexity.  But they gave up.  Now they offer everyone’s favorite fare – burgers and brew.

Dogs always make their appearance at the parade.  This year featured a three legged dog running down the center of the street.  I couldn’t get a picture of him.  He was too fast.

Some floats assembled across from a field, near the Exxon station and local minimart.  People were anxious to get the procession started.

With a flurry of police sirens the parade officially begins just as the clock strikes six.  It’s about the lights, you know, so we wait until it’s good and dark.

We’re standing at the intersection of Main and Earnhardt Boulevard – named after hometown hero Dale Earnhardt, NASCAR’s famous number 3.  We have a statue nearby, commemorating his life.

It’s good to have your smartphone with plenty of battery life so you can record these special moments.  It makes for good viewing on Facebook.

People arrive in seasonal hats and they aren't always in the parade itself.  No one need be a mere bystander to the celebration.

Here comes the Fire Department.  Some people make it here every year – among them a local pizza parlor and a dentist handing out toothbrushes.  I didn’t see the tow truck company this year, though.

I didn’t see a single person inside the police station.  Ring the bell inside and no one answers.  They were all at the parade.

You know one thing that makes a kid happy?  Put them in a small wooden wagon with plenty of bright lights and pull them down the street.  They were too shy to shout “Merry Christmas” but people cheered anyway.

This old guy’s bones ache from the cold but no one is going to keep him from enjoying the magic of the season.  It’s a moment to feel truly grounded.  You’re a part of something joyful.  Kind of makes one a little teary.  Your nose begins to run.

There were so many bands in the parade this year.  I think there must have been seven or eight.  Buses brought them in from North Cabarrus and Rowan County.  There was even the Marching Hawks from West Mecklenburg, near Charlotte.    They were definitely something jazzy and new.

People came for the lights and, seriously, this parade was definitely about the lights.

What’s a Christmas parade without a manger scene?  Here we have Joseph and Mary with the Christ child.  Santa was there, as well.  He’s been around a long time.

I wonder how many people asked this guy if the parade is going to be on local TV news.

One of the more shocking moments of the parade came with the surprise appearance of the Abominable Snowman.

It took over an hour and a half for all the participants to march by.  As always, I think there were more people in the parade than there were standing by watching.

Don’t you know it was a chorus line of little girls that stole the show?

It was the Kannapolis Wonders band of A. L. Brown High School that finished out the parade… just ahead of Santa and his sleigh, of course.  Ho, ho, ho.


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