It may still be the oldest parade in Oregon but on Saturday it wasn't the coldest. The sun shone down 54 degrees. A glorious day for angels and elves to glow and scamper amidst the wide, tidy streets of Springfield.
The Grand Marshal rode in vintage style at the beginning of the Christmas Parade.
Springfield High School's band didn't miss a beat.
The Grange displayed a festive float.
While these little girls bubbled up joy at seeing Sam, our beagle, Tom and I adored their little pony.
I love the gleam on the front fender of this fire truck ridden by members of Twin Rivers Baptist Church.
Standing behind this little kid and his two friends gave us lots of laughs. The parade participants pointed at him and said, "I like your beard!" or "I've been good, Santa!" to which he robustly answered, "Your wish has been granted!" This photo shows him in mid-ho ho ho!
Can't have too many bands playing Christmas music on a sunny Saturday in Springfield.
Penguins and Christmas - but this one had trouble finding an ice floe!
These horses remind me of a parade in another town in another decade. The horse was a funky looking breed made all the funkier because of odd, shiny, feathery bling attached to every buckle and loop and braided into its mane and tail. It's rider, an immense woman weighing well over 300 lbs., was wearing as much ridiculously gaudy decoration as the horse. When I gasped, "What is THAT?!" Tom, his focus not on the decor but the rider, calmly responded, "A strong horse." Yep. Yep.
The Grinch in a baby stroller. Wonder if that kid's gonna need therapy when he gets older? Wonder if he'll remember why?
Another fire truck.
Sammy was in good company as canines were well represented in the parade, beginning with this Santa dog who I thought looked embarrassed, peering over his shoulder to make sure his doggie-friends didn't see him in that get-up.
Dogs and owners.
Sparky!! (Notice the regal looking greyhound watching the parade from the curb. He sat like that the entire time. When Sam barked at him now and then the dog just looked over at him. I swear he raised his eyebrows and yawned.)
And on the last big evergreen bough and red-bow strewn utility truck, leaning over the rim of the wide bucket, high, high above the onlookers, was the Jolly Old Elf himself!
Tom and I received a decent dose of Christmas - and community - Spirit as we observed and cheered this Christmas Parade. The sense of community experienced while chatting with strangers on the street, and seeing friends along the way warms a winter heart and gives evidence that 'things' are not as bad as they seem.
Far away from the media hype-and-scare is the soul of our country. It steadily glows in schools, in churches, in community organizations, and small businesses. It thrives in neighborhoods. It dwells safely within loving family homes. It's a power that puts up with a lot but, should the need ever arise, will boldly shine forth from its nurturing nests to illuminate the faces of the men, women, and children who are this country, who care, and who hold dear the self-evident truths.
Nothing like a Christmas Parade to reveal this best in us.