It’s that time of year again as we approach the 4th of July, and I’m not talking about the time to blow off fireworks. Nope, I’m talking about parade time. The Memorial Day parades have come and gone, Chicago just had its Gay Pride Parade, and with the 4th of July there will be a plethora of parades for all to see should they want to be a part of them. Me, for the longest time, I have always been the parade observer, at least back when I was a little tyke and went to parades, and for around 30 years wouldn’t really go near a parade, not even those celebrating my winning teams in Cleveland (Oh, wait. There aren’t any.), nor the celebrations in Chicago for their countless, or at least a few, championship seasons.
I guess after a time I really didn’t care about parades, until, well, I found myself a paradee instead of the parader. As part of my duty as a mascot, suddenly I found myself seated on top of a convertible, cruising through a local downtown, and loving it. The thing about being in a mascot outfit, especially at a parade, is that you feel like a rock star. The kids love you because, as opposed to sometimes when you are up close to them and scaring the bejesus out of them, it’s all about the love. They’re waving, calling to you, and just thinking you are the best, and me, soaking it all in, I’m up there on the convertible, bouncing to the music blaring from the stereo, trying to wave and “connect” to each and every one of my new fans, and thinking parades are the best. There is no better feeling than uber-adoration from throngs of fans at a parade, as long as you don’t remember that in about 10 seconds whomever is behind you in the parade has now become your “fans” best friends.
And so, as we approach the 4th of July, I’m wondering and I plight: Have you ever been in a parade?