I’ve been a spectator at quite a few small-town holiday parades but yesterday was the first time I was ever a participant. I expected it to be fun, and it was as soon as we got over some of the preliminary logistics hurdles–as often happens when animals are involved. Especially larger animals. Who don’t want to stay in their assigned place. And try to take the Christmas lights with them when they bail out.
Willow Tree provided the horse and carriage for Santa and Mrs. Claus (our excuse for a horse instead of reindeer was the lack of snow). Climate change, again! Not only no snow but also temps in the 50’s, which made it very comfortable for all concerned, but a little weird for a Michigan winter. Let’s start at the beginning.
We borrowed an antique sleigh from one of the Willow Tree trainers. It was so plush with the green velvet seat. As far as I could tell, we had the only actual sleigh in the parade.
When we started the trip from barn to town Jimmy decided he wasn’t so happy anymore. The hay bales presented no barricade to him, he simply stood up and tried to climb over them. We knew if we couldn’t keep him contained before we even got to town, we were never going to manage him in the hubbub of dozens of flashing lighted loud floats, fire engines, police cars, sirens, etc. He was in such a hurry to leave that he almost took some of the light strings on the float with him. So we took him back to the barn and said good riddance. Next year we bring a well-mannered dog.
I got to ride in the sleigh along with Bonney and we put a couple of volunteers in Jimmy’s hay corral to wave to the folks and wish everyone a Merry Christmas.
Bangor is a tiny town and I had no idea this parade would be such a big attraction, but the downtown section of the parade route had people lined up 4-5 deep along both sides of the street. I quickly realized I would never make it in a big event, such as the Rose Parade. I now know why the people on Rose Parade floats do what we started calling the “Rose Parade wave” where you just tilt your hand slightly from side to side instead of wildly waving your arms at everyone you see!
My own personal Christmas present came in an email this morning letting me know that two of my photographs will be appearing in a new book by Walter Zettl arriving sometime in February. Last May I went as a spectator to a dressage clinic presented by Walter and was encouraged to photograph any and all aspects of it that I wanted to. Mr. Zettl is a highly respected treasure in the dressage world and it is a bit unusual in these days of internet snark to be given carte blanche to photograph anything and everything. Some clinicians are so afraid of critical fuss that they prohibit all photography and video. I was mostly interested in gathering reference material for my paintings, but it turned out that Walter and company were interested in securing photos for the new book. So it was a win-win for everybody and I am so pleased to know that I could provide a contribution to the book.