Or maybe just a couple of hours. When I woke up this morning I still had quite a bit to do to finish getting my costume ready. I finished my crown last night, but today I finished making the ruffled collar which I needed to conceal the fact that I was wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt under the red velvet dress that I made for Lucy many years ago and commandeered for this occasion. I still had to attach the straps and ties to my sandwich board. And glue the top to my scepter. And make a necklace. And cook a bunch of stuff so I won’t be so pressed for time tomorrow.
By the time I got it all done, it was half an hour later than I’d planned to leave. I drank tea and listened to Christmas music on the way. It only occurred to me yesterday that I can now allow myself to listen to Christmas music in the car!
This time I knew exactly where to go and found the Renaissance Faire float with ease. The first thing I needed to do was get the face for my card. A lady who dresses as a unicorn had made everyone’s card fronts, and she did a fantastic job. It was a bit dicey having to glue that huge poster onto my board in the trunk of my car, but I did eventually manage it.
By the time I walked over to the float again, still clamping the top corners of my poster to the board, it was mostly set up, with the king and queen already installed, which meant there wasn’t much to do except lots of standing around for the next hour and a half.
I am not a fan of standing around as it is hard on my back and knees. But at least there was a lot to look at. So many floats! Many of them were packed with adorable little children. The high school marching band played “Frosty the Snowman.” The flag drill team practiced. The unicorn family (mom & two kids) went around helping everyone. I got my photo taken with the jack of spades.
Since standing for long periods is so hard for me, I began to question my eagerness to volunteer to walk beside the float instead of riding on it. But as things finally began to move, I knew I’d made the right choice. I could see so much MORE when I was on the ground moving around. I got to see all the floats that went ahead of us, from one with a life-sized snow globe to a bucket truck (complete with two parents and three adorable tots on top), to several front-end loaders sporting flags and lights, to the flag team and marching band.
Finally it was our turn to move. There were probably about eight of us walking beside the float and about as many on the float itself. I found that the speed of our progress varied quite a bit. Sometimes we moved at a comfortable walking pace, and sometimes I had to speed walk to keep up! Others were handing out candy but since I had my massive scepter to schlep, I just waved and wished everyone a Merry Christmas.
I wish I could tell you that it was all old hat to me this year and that I didn’t cry at all—but I’d be lying. I was just as charmed and touched this year as I was last year—maybe more so, because I was walking so close to everyone. All those bright-eyed young faces, old folks in their lawn chairs and blankets, whole families in the backs of vans and pickup trucks. I loved to see their faces light up when I looked right at them and waved and yelled “Merry Christmas!” Quite a few little kids yelled back, “Merry Christmas, Queen!” I’m sure you’ll be glad to know I resisted the urge to throw out a few comments such as “Off with her head!” After all, I was the queen of diamonds, not of hearts!
To be honest, it was an hour and a half of sheer joy for me. To sneak in for this one event and be part of a tightly-knit community’s annual celebration is such a gift. Hundreds and hundreds of happy faces lined the parade route. So much effort and creativity went into each of the floats. My costume got a lot of compliments and I was glad I put so much work into it. All those little-kid smiles were worth it!
And physically? I was fine. More than fine. Other than being a bit chilly after the sun went down, I enjoyed the walk, which I estimate was maybe about two miles. I thought my scepter might get tiresome to carry and that I’d have to put it on the float, but I didn’t. I thought I might get out of breath when the float speeded up, but I didn’t. Even when going my fastest, I could still easily wish everyone a Merry Christmas.
Of course, this modest accomplishment pales next to that of my daughter Mary, who ran a half-marathon in Memphis this morning and set a new personal record. She was running to raise money for St. Jude’s Hospital. Despite a nasty fall her last day here in Texas, she ran like a boss and I am so proud of her!
And Spencer had a rugby game today which of course I couldn’t go to because of the parade. One of these days I am going to go to one of his games!
Walter and Jasper had a long day of yard work cleaning up leaves for their clients.
Meanwhile, after the parade we dismantled the float and then we were all supposed to meet at a nearby restaurant for the after party. However, no one made reservations and of course the entire town eats out after the parade, so all the restaurants are mobbed. At ours it was going to be at least an hour’s wait until we got a table. I still had over an hour to drive and I did not want to wait two hours to get my supper and then still have that drive ahead of me afterward.
So I got back in the car and headed home, stopping for supper in a very uncrowded restaurant in another small town along the way. It would have been nice to hang out with my faire friends, but tomorrow—and all next week—are going to be very busy so I’m glad I came home. I watched part of a movie with Lucy and Tanner to unwind a bit.
And finally, here’s a conversation I had with an adorable young unicorn who was on our float.
Him (pointing at my scepter): “What’s that?”
Me: “It’s my scepter.”
Him: “How does it work?”
Me: “Well, it’s just fake, you know.”
Him: “Yeah, but if it was real, what could it do?”
Him: “Like what powers would it have?”
Me: “Well, it’s actually just a symbol of my authority as queen. Because I’m carrying this, everyone knows I’m the queen.”