Can Christmas be saved?
With what is believed to be the first cancellation of the East Ridge Christmas Parade, residents turned to social media to express their outrage with officials’ over the decision. You would have thought the Grinch stole Christmas.
The parade, perhaps known best as the FIRST Christmas parade of the season, has become beloved by all Pioneers. It’s OUR parade. I’ve written in sarcasm before that “nothing puts me in the Christmas spirit so much as blaring sirens and blue and red lights of emergency vehicles of every description.” Those crazy fez-wearing Shriners doing “figure 8s” in their miniature cars is something, isn’t it? A couple years ago, the motorcycle gang on “pocket rockets” doing burnouts added just that special touch that the parade needed.
Let’s face it, the parade is a spectacle of … of … well, it’s a spectacle. But, it’s OUR spectacle.
Before you go all bombastic on me for writing such blasphemy, I’ve got to admit the parade has its high points. Lots of civic organizations, churches and youth groups work very hard to build tastefully done traditional floats ranging from manger scenes to the fireplace hearth adorned with the tree and tinsel. I tip my red Santa cap to all of them. And the look on the faces of the kids who come from near and far to watch all this pass by is special.
Having said that, I truly believe that city officials made the correct decision in cancelling the parade. The potential for really nasty weather was real. Nashville got hammered and the same weather system swept through East Ridge at 8:30 p.m. or so.
Imagine thousands of parade watchers lining the streets and the bottom drops out of the skies? The Christmas trees and ornaments blowing out of the floats and all over Ringgold Road. Shriners losing their bearings, blinded by rain-driven wind, veering their miniature cars all over creation. Well, I just don’t think organizers of the parade could have or should have taken that chance.
I was told – and it makes sense to me – that it’s impossible to reschedule the parade, as all the participants have plans every weekend going forward to participate in other area Christmas parades.
All is not lost, however. Tomorrow morning, I’m headed to City Hall to talk to the City Manager and see if I need to get some kind of permit to hold a modest Christmas gathering near the Gold Star Memorial where the city has erected the image of a Christmas tree where that big fir tree once stood. I’ll talk to the Fire Chief and see if we can’t bring a few fire pits down to build a cozy fire. I’m going to contact local pastor Daniel Beard and see if some folks from his church can put together a choir. I’m going to reach out to Ken Sauer at East Ridge Methodist Church and see if folks from his congregation might want to join in.
Maybe those wonderful folks that make up the East Ridge Optimist Club can get on board. Ora Citty was going to have an antique fire truck in the cancelled Christmas Parade. Maybe she can talk to Santa – I know his schedule is tight this time of year – and get him to say a few words to the kids … naughty and nice and all that stuff.
A gathering very similar to this was done last year after the parade. A few dozen people stuck around after the parade and Santa and Mrs. Claus even showed. Christmas carols were sung. Friends and neighbors mingled as children ran around under foot. People talked about doing it again the following year and starting a new tradition.
Christmas can be saved. All it takes is to BELIEVE.