jayellebee's Blog

December 30, 2012


Filed under: Musings — Joanne @ 3:50 pm
Tags: , ,

Macy's New York City     Conjure up a mental image of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Throngs of people dressed to face the frigid elements, New York City’s posh multi-laned streets, precision marching bands, elegant floats, the iconic, building-sized balloons….  Now, imagine that parade’s polar opposite.  Got it?  Scotty, beam us down to Lakeside Drive in the City of Clearlake to witness the annual Fourth of July parade.

Neighbors who have spent summers at Clear Lake every year for decades, entered the parade several times back in the 1990s.  We tried our best to entertain the assembled gawkers, and succeeded at amusing ourselves.  We recruited a cast of thousands for our first effort, portraying all the characters from Peter Pan.  Sadly, many of the children lining the parade route failed to recognize Peter, Wendy, John, Michael, Captain Hook and Smee in their pirate ship, Tinkerbell, the hand-severing crocodile, the Lost Boys or the Indians.

Our final effort found us acting out a scene from Robert McCloskey‘s picture book, Make Way for Ducklings.  I was the policeman who stopped traffic so mother duck and her hatchlings could find safe passage from their nest to the pond in the Public Garden.  Adorned in web-footed shoe coverings, duck-billed baseball caps and paper mache tails, our quackers waddled down the road in a row.   A few onlookers actually believed me to be a member of law enforcement and heeded my decree to “Make way, make way for ducklings.”  No one was able to identify Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Oack, Pack or Quack, even though their names were stenciled on their shirts.

IMG     My favorite entry came the year “Movies” was the parade theme.  In 1994, Forrest Gump won Tom Hanks an Oscar.  You’ll remember the film’s tag line:  Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.  In 1995, our group of mis-directed miscreants wondered what the sound bite for a Gump sequel might be.   Hmm….

We removed the bottoms from large boxes and attached suspenders so we could wear the shells while walking.  Each box was decorated to resemble a common product.  A boat trailer preceded us down Lakeshore Drive  sporting one of our more mature neighbors who sat on a bench, suitcase at his side, holding an empty box of chocolates.  Bunting along each side of the trailer proclaimed “Life is like…” and we marchers carried signs filling in the blank.

Life is like a box of pretzels, full of twists and turns.  Life is like a box of raisins, we end up dry and wrinkled.  Life is like a tackle IMG_0001box, full of hooks and lures.  We had a million of ’em.  (A few R rated suggestions had to be discarded:  Life is like a box of tampons, there are always strings attached.)  My then fourteen-year-old son made the front page of the local newspaper wearing a Metamucil box: Life is like a box of Metamucil, it’s wasted on the young.  This was before the age of smart phones and digital photos, so I wore a box of Kodak film:  Life is like a box of film, it comes with an expiration date.

That expiration date joke has come back to haunt me lately.  Time’s a-wasting.  If I’m ever going to do XYZ , I’d better get with the program soon.  Life’s uncertain, eat dessert first.

I’ve made my share of New Year’s resolutions, and broken most of them.   Okay, all of them.  Some more quickly than others.  But, with luck, this year will be different.  I resolve to stop worrying about the future and instead look for the joy each day brings.  Rain or shine, hot or cold, at home or away.  There’s a silver lining out there somewhere and, damn it, I’m going to find it!



  1. Charming, Joanne! What fun to play parade with you. I wish I had. I wish my children had. You are a lovely Kodak moment.

    Comment by Jean Georgakopoulos — December 30, 2012 @ 7:13 pm | Reply

  2. Ah, Joanne! You’ve done it again…brought back my memories of the Walnut Parade on Main Street in Walnut Creek in the sixties (when it was a small town, family affair, before it became a county-fair type event at Heather Farms Park). One year,our four children were a conductor and a train, one in a conductor’s outfit, and three as train cars. The youngest, Anthony, was the caboose. All in big painted cardboard boxes. Good times! Thanks for a piece of corny but fun nostalgia.

    Happy new Year to all the Browns!

    Comment by Ann Damaschino — December 30, 2012 @ 9:00 pm | Reply


    Comment by Fran Wojnar — December 31, 2012 @ 11:46 am | Reply

  4. Hi Joanne, I want to be in your parade! It sounds like so much fun. Please change my email address to so I won’t miss any of your posts. Happy New Year! Fran

    Comment by Fran Wojnar — December 31, 2012 @ 11:49 am | Reply

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