• Kerry D. Krauss

Everyone Loves a Parade

The Emmaus Halloween Parade surpassed all other Emmaus events. Growing up, it was THE night to be in Emmaus. It might not have been the night to go THROUGH Emmaus, but it was always a great night.

I remember walking in the parade as a boy scout and getting my half dollar in the fire house afterward. I remember sitting anxiously on the curbside waiting and wondering what trinket I might get from guys pushing shopping carts filled with balloons, foamy fingers, and cotton candy. I remember watching the parade at its starting point and then walking to the judges stand on Chestnut St. to hear the bands play.

Parades have existed for a long time. The ancient Roman and Chinese parades functioned as military operations. During the Renaissance parades honored the patron benefactor who paid for the parade. They involved ornate floats and costumed performers—like Carnival+Mardi Gras+Mummers Parade. Italian elite spent ridiculous amounts of money to celebrate themselves. The parades also diverted people’s attention from the Plague and disastrous Crusades.

In the span of a week I have participated in two parades. One as a spectator. One as a horn honking, candy spewing mini-float.

The first parade celebrated Gibraltar’s class of 2020. It was not the celebration anyone wanted, but to be able to see the kids and their families was special. Karen wanted to bring her cowbell. The boys vetoed the idea. Karen should have overruled them. The caravan of graduates raucously moved south from Ellison Bay to Fish Creek. I enjoyed the noise and the commotion, but the smiles on the kids faces brought tears to my eyes.

Last night, a caravan of somewhat less noise and commotion gathered in the church’s parking to celebrate a neighbor’s birthday. We paraded past Avery on her 7th birthday. Every care had a honk and a goodie bag. Even with the impending rain, her smile was as bright as the morning sun.

We’re still learning what we can and cannot do in this new era. I’m glad we’ve discovered an old way of celebrating people. Everyone deserves a parade. Not just for birthdays and graduations, but for the sincere victory of another day.

You might think it will get old—Kerry made it home from a day of work. Hurray. Let’s have a parade. I think we’re too stingy with our praise for simply surviving. Surviving in any age is hard work. Surviving these days, takes extra grace, extra energy, extra courage.

Here are people who I believe deserve a parade today:

Marlene, because it is her birthday.

Jessie, because yesterday was her birthday and she’s been through some stuff.

Kent, because he’s my hero.

Christie, because she’s my hero.

You can develop your own list based on your own criteria. I’m sure you know people who deserve a parade—or someone who needs a parade. Surviving these days is enough.

I love you.

I need you.

I hope for you.

Please be safe.


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