Nov 21 (1 day ago)
Today was the day of the Holiday Parade! I am truly a sucker for parades. Even small parades have been known to move me to tears. Literally. I get misty eyed. There is something beautiful and a little frightening about people in the street, playing drums…
wearing costumes.

We moved here on the day of the (non-specified) Holiday Parade five years ago. We had no idea why the streets to our home were blocked off. ‘Some kind of parade or somethin’…’ We frowned over our glossy laminated map of Asheville, which we have since realized is woefully inaccurate. We were exhausted. The car was a jumble of what must have been a hundred garbage bags, some squishy, some with awful sharp edges stretching the plastic to transparency. And laundry baskets spilling diapers, toys, snacks and the last minute content of miscellaneous drawers and shelves. Oh, and children. Two of them. One 27 months old, one a mere 3 months old. She was wearing a striped sweater. Because even though it was warmish in Charleston, where I lived only long enough to wean one child and bear another, we were moving somewhere where it might even snow soon!

I drove that car, domestic nightmare on wheels, alone that day. It was no big deal. I’d solo- driven these two small people up and down 26 at least 3 times in the previous month. I’ve always liked traveling alone with children. Even a one-hour journey turns quickly to adventure when you’re trying to convince skeptical youngsters that you all are having a fabulous time.

It was an awesome drive, impossibly quick. I think we made it in just under four-hours. The baby Olive slept the whole way. The boy Leo chattered endlessly, but happily. I was just relieved we weren’t going back to the small, hot house we had just left for good. It’s tap water always smelled like mold to me.

We missed the parade that year, but I told a screaming toddler that the fireworks that night were a good sign. That he should see his first fireworks on the day we moved to this mountain town, where the wind howled around the eaves of our new old house that night. (I didn’t want to sleep in a motel, I wanted to be ‘home.’. Even if home was a house empty save for a dreadful piles of boxes and bags in various states of empty and full, two frame-less beds, hastily made.
The kids and I have never missed a Holiday Parade. This year, however, was the best. Beautiful sky, slanting sun. A walk to a perfect spot close to the beginning of the parade route brought us to a sidewalk that ran parallel to the ridiculously long procession waiting to proceed. We saw Santa, his wife and his reindeers in full garb, chatting casually on their float near the west side of Martin Luther King Jr. Park. We all waved, I shouted ‘WooHoo’ in a way that may have been a little boisterous. My son seemed a little embarrassed, but he was smiling my favorite smile. Eyes down, but irrepressible. Here are some pictures.

Best Holiday Parade ever. As I locked the front door to take the dogs for a walk I saw a huge and shining Volvo backhoe travel slowly past my house. It was festooned in wreaths and garland and was towing a beautiful little rough-hewn structure that I suppose was some sort of manger. It was so Asheville. I love this town, my home of five years.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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