Last night was our local Parade of Lights. When we moved to our small town 28 years ago, one of the things that amazed and amused us most were the parades, which occur here for any and every reason throughout the summer, into the fall, and even at Christmas. In the summer, if you own a convertible or a bicycle, you can be a parade float. For the holiday Parade of Lights, all it takes to be a float is a pick-up, a hay wagon, and a Scout troop. Or an ATV with a large stuffed animal strapped on the front or back. Or a bicycle or a convertible. Pretty much anything that you can stick lights on. It is a very noisy parade; the noise mostly coming from all the generators on all the hay wagons, keeping the lights lit up.
Last night, the hospital Blood Mobile was all lit up, as were a huge dump truck and a crane. There is actually a Pipe Company here that creates truly amazing 'floats', pulled by lit-up semis. They did two of them this year, a train and a western scene.
One year, when our boys were in middle school and late grade school, one of the women at church decided we would do a Parade of Lights float. She knew of someone with a pick-up and a hay wagon, so why not? The theme that year was "Story time," so she decided the youth group should do the float with Bible story scenes. The person with the hay wagon also had goats and sheep, so several of those also got stuck on the float with the kids. All the props were made of styrofoam and cardboard... this is a small town low budget parade, not New York's Macy's parade, after all. As we processed at 1-2 miles per hour through the FREEZING downtown night, the goat kept jumping off, needing to be chased and put back on, and pieces of Noah's ark and Jonah's whale kept falling off onto the street. My job ended up being to walk along behind the float, picking up those pieces, and making sure the goat didn't run away for good. I remember at one point getting so tickled by the whole thing that I was walking along with styrofoam whale fins in my arms, laughing so hard tears were freezing on my cheeks. Ah, happy holiday memories... of things I would NEVER do again, but can remember with a smile.