Thursday, October 27, 2016


 I love parades, and every year I try to get to one or two. The July 4th extravaganza held in downtown Washington, DC, is fine and spectacular, but I prefer the small-town events, where policemen close off the main street and there’s a sense of helter-skelter joy.

Arielle and I went to the Vienna Halloween parade last night, and it didn’t disappoint. There were the usual motorcycle cops doing stunts on their Harleys, and the Shriners blasting around in those tiny red cars they actually seem to wear around their waists. There were fire engines galore, which made me wonder what would happen in case of a fire? Would they plow through the crowds in their hurry to get to the flames? No. I jest. Of course they wouldn’t. Would they?

There were a couple of band-and-drum squads, and I thought it interesting that as soon as the drums started pounding out their complex beats, people began reacting to the rhythm—not obviously, just a sway of the hips here and a head bobbing there. Age or gender didn’t matter. Music makes people move.

There were dinosaurs. Arielle said they were T Rexes. I thought they were velociraptors, except I think velociraptors might have been invented to meet the needs of the Jurassic Park franchise, so she was probably right, as she sometimes is. There was a family of white-haired Einsteins, and some vertebrae trying and failing to join up as a spine. Yes, the disembodied backbone was sponsored by a chiropractor’s office.

There was a sort of strange Santa whose beard had migrated from his chin to the middle of his chest, so it looked as if a troll was growing out of his red suit.

My favorites are always the kids, be they in a semi-organized dance troupe or as small hordes bouncing around indiscriminately. A bevy of young girls ran in circles waving their arms. There was, I’m sure, a purpose to this. I particularly enjoyed the karate dojo that had five-year-olds breaking boards. One little white-belted boy kicked at his furiously with little success. His sensei surreptitiously bent the board. The kid gave a mighty kiai and put his foot through it. Success is always subjective.

Amid marchers carrying posters to re-elect so-and-so was one lonely pick-up truck festooned with Trump campaign signs. Three people clapped. Some turned around. A person near me hissed, another quacked. It might have been a mom dressed as a rubber duck, but I’m not sure. It was all very polite and civilized.

People drove slowly in their classic Corvettes, Caddies and Imperials. I told Arielle everything I knew about these cars and her eyes glazed. Bolivian dancers capered, bagpipes wailed, horses pranced. All was well with the world. I love a good parade.


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