year after year, the tradition is the same. my dad's side of the family comes to our house for the family christmas. on the schedule is usually play games, mingle, eat, shoot guns, open presents and more fun than could be imagined. but this year we added something new to the day's events. the vida christmas parade.
we piled in our vehicles with great excitement and a little bit of not knowing what to expect. vida is a small, country community not far from our place. we had never been to the parade there but had heard "you gottta go." driving down the back roads and turning onto the county road where the parade was to be held, we giggled over the small handmade sign boasting vida christmas parade stuck into the ground by the red stop sign. we kept riding until we came to a place where parked vehicles covered each side of the road. picking a spot to park our caravan about halfway down the short parade route, we unloaded. i grabbed my football and tossed it with the cousins as we waited for the much anticipated parade to begin. soon sirens were heard from the leading sheriff's car. we gathered to the edge of the pavement, bags in hand and playfully fighting for the best spot to get all the candy. we laughed at the hearse, dove headfirst for the chocolate, sang with elvis and couldn't have been enjoying ourselves more. we quickly talked with the friends and neighbors we knew who were in the parade as they passed by. i continued my new parade tradition for this year of throwing my plastic beads back to unsuspecting floats. accidentally hitting santa with the beads and the smiles on kids faces when i gave beads to them were priceless. a favorite aspect of the parade was that we got to see it twice. after going down the street once, the parade entourage came back through a second time. riding in the parade with a politician, our city's former mayor joked: "on the second round y'all are supposed to throw the candy back to us." we left the parade with promises to each other to have a family float in the parade next year. many memories were made, laughs were given and candy sacks filled. we hated to see it end.