One for the Record Books

It has become a family tradition to help decorate and ride on the school Christmas float in the Williams’ household.  We have done it for at least four years now.  There is normally a handful of students that ride on it, along with some parents and the nuns that teach at our school.  It’s always a lot of fun and I’m glad we do it.  However, this year’s Christmas Parade has to go down in the record books as the most memorable to date.

We have had some unusually warm weather lately for our area.  Normally it’s pretty chilly after the sun goes down.  But last night we were riding in the Christmas Parade and it was in the high 60’s, with a chance of rain.  In fact, there was a few times while we waited for the parade to start, that it started to sprinkle on us.  Thankfully, we had some umbrellas and ponchos, just in case.

As the Christmas parade began, things seemed like every other year.  The kids and I were sitting on the float, waving and yelling Merry Christmas to the spectators.  The only difference was, that this year, Frank was riding on the float too.  We had a live nativity scene on our float, so we were all decked out in costumes.

We made it up to the spot where the local broadcasters were filming the parade.  They announced our float and we all waved and spread our Christmas cheer to the people viewing at home.  Things went well, until we got a little bit further down the parade route.  Then things got a little intense.

First, it started to sprinkle.  Then it started to rain.  Okay, we had umbrellas, so we continued to do our best to wave at the spectators that were being pelted by the rain.  Then came the real downpour.  What do you do when you are riding on a float in a downpour?  You continue to wave and wish people Merry Christmas, as you laugh in disbelief at your circumstances.

What came next was definitely not expected.  The wind picked up, which made the rain start hitting us at an angle.  But hey, we had umbrellas.  That is, until the wind caused our umbrellas to flip-up in the wrong direction.  So picture this, we are riding on a float, waving at spectators, as rain is hitting us at an angle and our umbrellas look like bowls on top of poles.  Couldn’t get much worse, right?  Wrong!

As we round a corner, the wind catches two of the small Christmas trees we had sitting in the corner of the float and starts bringing them down beside me.  I didn’t know what to do.  Do I catch the trees or do I continue to hold the umbrella that my two little kids were hovering under?  I decided to continue to hold the umbrella and let the trees go down.

By now Ann, my youngest daughter, is crying and I’m trying to calm her down.  It didn’t help the situation when the ambulance that was following us in the parade decided to turn on their sirens.  Yes, there was one moment during this whole event that I was thinking this was really becoming a true nightmare.  A float ride from Hell, if you may.  Then it happened, the must unexpected and memorable moment of the parade.

Right around the time the two Christmas trees fell over, I glance up at the nuns that were sitting across from me.  What I saw was awesome.  Two of the nuns, who are probably in their early 30’s, were huddled next to each other.  They were holding an umbrella that had flipped up into a bowl and they were laughing their heads off like they were teenage girls.  It was great, seeing them laughing at the unexpected situation.

It was at that moment that I realized that this float ride was a good example of life.  There will be times in your life where you think things will go smoothly.  Then, out of the blue, the rain will come along.  A little rain doesn’t seem so bad, but when the rain gets harder and you’re not as comfortable as you started out, then you have a choice to make.  You can either crumble under the pressure of life or you can throw your head back and laugh.  Your reactions will not make the circumstances change.  The rain will most likely continue to fall, whether you laugh or cry.  However, how you react to the situation will make a difference in how you feel about your circumstances.  What difference does that make?  A big difference.  Your attitude or reactions to the difficult situations life brings you makes a difference of how happy you can be in your life.

I am happy to report that the rain and wind died down before the parade was over.  By the time we were rounding the last corner of the parade route, we were thanking the rain drenched spectators for sticking it out with us.  I have a feeling that Ann will never want to ride on a Christmas float again.  Her memories will most likely be full of fear and misery.  However, the only thing I will remember about this year’s Christmas parade will be the beautiful sight of those two nuns, having a ball in the middle of a rain storm.  So will I be riding on next year’s Christmas float?  Heck yeah, even if there is a chance of rain.

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