There is such a thing as a Belmont Santa Claus Parade and I got to experience it a couple of days ago. The night was dark and I was Charles Dickens – top hat, scarf, trenchcoat … and moustache!
I live at the north end of Belmont and the parade was to start at the south end, on the grounds of the farm supply company. Forty-five minutes before the great beginning, I strolled down Main Street. To the few passersby I encountered I said “What’s going on in town tonight?” Some smiled. Some stared. Oh well.
Basically there were hardly any spectators positioning themselves. Here I thought the Belmont parade was a big deal. Guess I was wrong.
I found my Belmont Diner float and loaded my Christmas bag with tons of candy. Then I wandered among the other floats, chatting with some and sundry. I sought Santa, hoping that he would come through with the red Lamborghini I had promised myself decades ago. But he must have been doing some last minute gift wrapping. And then it was time to get rolling.
I told the Grade 6 kids at South Dorchester School that I’d be handing out candy beside the Diner float, and if they wanted to see me they should be on the east side of the street.
The float and I turned right out of the parking lot onto Main Street. Oh my God! The sidewalks were packed two and three deep, and were well populated with short folks. Christal, the Diner’s owner, told me “One candy only to each kid. Otherwise you’ll run out by the bridge.” (about one-third of the way along the route). Okay, so be it.
I made eye contact with every child I could find. “Merry Christmas!” was interspersed with “I don’t see any kids.” (Cue frantic waving) and “You look like a broccoli and lettuce kind of guy, not the candy type.” (Cue yelps of “Candy!” and outstretched hands) Great fun.
About five of the Grade 6s rushed up to say hi. And I got to meet a few parents. I think they’re glad I show up in their child’s class. Being there makes me happy.
Occasionally I glanced up from the sea of young faces to see my float fading into the future. Ouch – that’s my source of candy replenishment! So a decision was needed. Should I zoom forward to refill my bag or continue to see each youngster? Practicality gave way to relationship. More eyes to behold. Dwindling supplies be darned.
I got to chanting “Adult, adult, adult … kid!” and gave the next small human a gigantis smile. Another candy safely delivered. Laughing went from sidewalk to street and back again.
Up Main Street we journeyed, past the Barking Cat (pub), the Diner, The Post Office and Jody’s bench, the Belmont Dairystore, the library and the Town Restaurant. When at Church Street, one block from the end of the parade, what to my wondering eyes should appear but only twenty candies lying in my bag. Between Church and Washburn, another flurry of children bounced on the sidewalk. What to do? I mentioned my dilemma to a number of parents.
Guess what happened?
Maybe eight or ten adults poured handfuls of candies into my bag. “For the kids up ahead.” And how many of the children associated with said adults complained? That’s right – zero. Immensely sweet.
Thank you, Belmontonians. You made my year.