Before the parade passes by

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2005

This year's Christmas parades ( I went to both Greenville's and Georgiana's events) reminded me why I have so many good memories of this tradition.

I remember as a child eagerly peering down Commerce Street, hoping to see a flash of blue lights or hear a piercing siren. A parade was the one time such sights and sounds weren't scary, but welcome.

I would strain to hear the sound of drums and cymbals, knowing I would see my older sisters marching by as part of the GHS Tiger Band, just one of several bands who used to join in the city's annual parade.

Back then, Christmas parades meant pretty girls in tiaras, waving gracefully to the crowds from their convertible chariots; colorful floats with smiling children on board, tossing candy to parade-goers, Santa &#8220ho-ho-ho-ing” from high atop a shiny red fire engine, as wide-eyed kids waved back in wonder.

Thank goodness, some things don't change.

Beauties with city, county and even state titles – Miss Alabama USA, no less – were sighted on Commerce St. last Saturday; there were creative floats and cool motor scooters and, yes, even my dear old dad's beautifully restored John Deere, rolling down the street.

There were plenty of cute kids in Santa hats and reindeer antlers – adults, too, come to think of it.

After all, as Charles Dickens said, there is no better time to be a child than at Christmastime.

I do miss all the bands we used to have participating, and the way they would stop along the parade route and perform for us. Some even danced and sang as they played their instruments – what a show!

In my childhood days, Troy State University's band also stayed after the parade and put on a concert in Confederate Park. As parade-goer Katie Holcomb said, &#8220 it was a full-fledged concert, too.”

Parades bring back memories and make brand new ones for us.

I'm thankful we still have my alma mater's band marching in their holiday gear, waving festive flags and twirling their sparkling circle batons, carrying on the Christmas tradition – marching in my sisters' footsteps, so to speak.

I snapped a photo of Butler County's Junior Miss, Lacey Norrell, as she rode by, and recalled a little third grader with big brown eyes and dimples who sweetly told me I was her &#8220VERY favorite art teacher.”

My little white-haired mother in red did her best in both Georgiana and Greenville to point out the sweets tossed from floats to any nearby children.

&#8220Honey, there's another sucker right over there. And here's another piece right over here.”

Mama beamed when Daddy's John Deere rolled by. &#8220Would you believe I used to disk on that tractor?”

When the horses trotted by, she smiled and looked up at me. &#8220Daddy and I used go riding back in the pastures, you know.”

A Christmas parade in a small town – a great place to make new memories, and bring back old ones.

Angie Long is Lifestyles reporter for The Greenville Advocate. She can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 132 or via email at