My dad took me to that one once. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I think he had business to do, because I remember him and Uncle Jun were in bad mood, not sayin’ much on the way into the city. We went to the end of the route, which wasn’t much fun, seeing as the parade sorta quit about a block before it got to us. The bands weren’t playin’ anymore, the drum majorettes weren’t throwin’ their sticks, and most of the big balloons - which is what I was all excited to see - were already on the ground. It does something to a kid to see the balloon all limp and lyin’ there, like someone shot Underdog. I was waitin’ for Santa Claus, which I didn’t believe in anymore like I did as a kid, but he was the boss of the season and I understood that you had to pay your respects. So the last float shows up and it’s got Santa, all right, and he’s chatting with one of the elves, and I hear Uncle Jun swear something fierce. It was unusual for him to swear in front of the kids back then. Me, I took it as a sign that I wasn’t one of the kids, so I was pleased. Mind you I wanted to see Santa, but I wanted to be someone Uncle Jun felt free to curse around. You know the age.
So my dad gets all agitated too, and they’re staring at Santa. That him? No, that’s not him. That so-and-so, who does he think he is. We hang around for a while longer then we go back home for one of Ma’s trademark moisture-free turkeys.
I ask my dad about this later - much later, when we could talk about this sort of thing, and he laughs; you remember that? Turns out he and Uncle Jun went to collect on Santa. The guy was into them for 10 large. But the real Santa left town and they put a replacement Santa in his place.
That’s my first parade: goin’ to break Santa’s leg. I think of that every time I see the parade on TV on Thanksgiving. I mean, just because a kid don’t believe in Santa no more doesn’t mean you want to your father take a crowbar to his kneecap.
So thanks for the offer, but you’ll excuse me if I sit this one out. Parades and me we don’t exactly get along, if you know what I’m sayin’.