I Love a Parade

Steven J. Callis

My favorite of all the holiday parades, it is officially called “The Rose Parade presented by Honda,” previously known as the Tournament of Roses Parade, or simply the Rose Parade.  Running since 1890, the Rose Parade has an incredible history, and remains among the top attractions among parades across the nation throughout the year.

While it is linked to the collegiate football Rose Bowl, the game itself did not become a tradition until 1916.  There was a game played in 1902, called the Tournament East-West game, but there were no more games in conjunction with the parade until the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day 14 years later.  It has been played annually ever since. The game in 1902 was added to “help fund the cost of staging the parade.” (Wikapedia)

The annual parade habit for my family when our children were in school was the community Christmas parade.  Like many community parades, we enjoyed fire trucks, police cars, bands, beauty queens, floats, classic cars, church groups, scout troops, motorcycles, clowns, and of course, Santa Claus.

I always loved the bands, especially the ones in which my kids marched and played.  They enjoyed it, too, in that it was all for fun without the stress of performance and competition.  They dressed in uniform, but were allowed to wear Santa hats if they so desired.

I would arrive early because the band had a call time an hour before the start of the parade.  This allowed me to get a good parking spot, sometimes close enough to watch the event in a lawn chair from the bed of my truck.

As much as my kids seemed to enjoy marching in the parade, the downside was that they did not get to see the parade.  They missed the cars, the antics, the floats, the clowns, Santa, and yes, even the bands!  They chose to BE rather than to SEE.

Marlo Thomas is quoted as saying, “My father said there were two kinds of people in the world: givers and takers. The takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better.”  It is true that givers sometimes receive, and takers sometimes give, but the label of which Danny Thomas spoke seems to describe the learned propensity of a person’s heart.

The 2014 Parade of Life is underway.  You and I will be given several opportunities each day to either be an onlooker or a participant, an observer or a player.  Let’s keep the generous spirit of Christmas alive this year by taking a positive, active part in the parade rather than watching as it pass us by.

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