Thanksgiving Day Parade

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For over twenty years, I’ve written about Thanksgiving while growing up back on Flamingo Street. I’ve written about the morning pillow fights with my three brothers, The Sister and me, Mom being in the kitchen all day and, yes, Dad’s famous deviled eggs.

So much so that last week, The Editor commented, “You know you’ve written about those deviled eggs for the last twenty years.” (True, but they are some really tasty eggs). Instead of writing about any of the above, I’ve decided to do a story about something I’ve never written about before – something that was as much of a tradition around our house as Mom’s turkey and cornbread dressing or Dad’s eggs. The Thanksgiving Day Parade, Flamingo Street style.

Other than the mouth-watering smells wafting in from the kitchen, the Macy’s day parade of colorful balloons across our living room console TV left no doubt: it was Thanksgiving once again and the Christmas countdown had begun.

When not helping Mom in the kitchen, we kids were glued to the TV all morning watching and waiting for the Snoopy balloon and the “real” Santa to make their appearances.

Guess I should state for all the regular readers of this column that we were watching the TV intently and not actually glued to it. (The story of our little bottle of Super Glue and how we all “accidentally” glued each other’s fingers together is a sticky story for another time.)

After the Snoopy balloon and the float carrying Santa ended the Macy’s parade, Dad cut off the TV, told us kids to go outside and play, and then headed to the kitchen to start his eggs.

Down the driveway and out into the street we rolled, pedaling our bikes as fast as we could. With a quick look, it was easy to see we weren’t the only ones who were told to go outside and play. It seemed that every kid on Flamingo was out riding their bikes. With so many kids, and so many different bikes, it was almost like a parade … the Flamingo Street parade.

To be honest, I don’t remember which of us kids had the idea first or whether it was all of us at the same time, but soon a long procession of twelve kids on bikes was parading up and down Flamingo.

After ten minutes, Goof ran back inside his house and soon came out with half a dozen helium-filled balloons left over from his sister’s birthday party. We tied them to our handlebars and went back on parade with Bubba Hanks in the back playing Santa.

For an hour no one got hurt, which was a long time for us while playing a game, then Big Brother James thought it would be a good idea to play “Whack a Balloon.” It wasn’t long before all the balloons were whacked and popped, then the game turned into “Whack a Bike Rider.” I think more Band-Aids were used on that Thanksgiving than any other on Flamingo.

Sadly, distance keep my brothers, The Sister and me apart most Thanksgivings, but I’ll never forget that first parade we had on Flamingo.

This year our two granddaughters, Little One and Sweet Caroline, will wake up Thanksgiving morning at our house to the delicious smells wafting in from the kitchen compliments of The Wife. (And yes, I’ll be hard at work making Dad’s deviled eggs.) The Macy’s parade will already be on the big TV in the living room.

They’ll cuddle on the couch, each wrapped in their new super soft blankie, and sip a cup of hot cocoa waiting for Snoopy and the real Santa to make an appearance.

Afterwards, we will go outside to ride bikes … and have a parade of our own with balloons tied to our handlebars – minus the whacking of course. It won’t be the same as we did it back on Flamingo, but it will be close enough.

From The Wife and me, here’s wishing you and yours a happy Thanksgiving and, if you have the time, and extra balloons, a good street parade.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001.]