"Can the kids spend the night with you on Nov. 30?" Cookie asked me several weeks ago. She and hubby and Baby Zoomba were planning to stay overnight in Kansas City with friends. Since Kansas City is the halfway point between our home and theirs, it was a logical question.
She needn't have asked. Of course, Pa-pa and I are glad for Sooby, Pooh, and Bootsie to stay with us any time they have the chance.
I was even more excited when I looked at the calendar to see that our town's annual Christmas parade was set for 10 o'clock on the morning of Dec. 1. Realizing the kids' visit would coincide with this, I did a quick calculation to figure out if Pa-pa and I could manage kids ages 5, 3, and 2 in a throng of Christmas revelers congregated along the half-mile-long main drag of our downtown.
When the weather forecast promised temperatures in the low 60's, I decided that Pa-pa and I might be able to do this and live to tell about it. So I needed to discuss the particulars with Cookie when the family was here over Thanksgiving weekend.
Trouble was, it was impossible to conduct this discussion without finding ourselves in the presence of at least one child. I didn't want any of them to know about the possibility of going to the parade until the details had been worked out and it was a certainty that we would go.
I took a deep breath and said to Cookie, "You still expect the kids to stay here Friday night, right?"
"You know--the following 24-hour period is the date designated for a certain annual event in our traditional commercial district," I began. Cookie looked at me as though the tryptophan had taken away my ability to communicate. I, too, thought that might be the case, but I forged on.
"I mean the procession of tissue-paper concoctions and instrumental musical ensembles with a Yuletide theme," I explained. "The one that includes the classic vehicular specimens and the canine and equine fauna adorned in their festive holiday regalia."
Cookie was catching on. "Oh," she said. "And the opportunity for gleaning multiple confectionary projectiles from participants traversing northward."
"Exactly," I said, remembering that I would need to take along a bag for this express purpose. "And then there is the obese, bearded, furrily-clad masculine Yuletide personality who always perches atop a gargantuan vehicle used for extinguishing conflagrations."
"Oh, the prospect of that would be simply adored by the three onlookers in question," she said.
"Then I think we will enlist every effort to make that a reality," I said, and the plan was hatched without the slightest suspicion from even our word-wise Sooby.
I am glad to return to a more normal vocabulary and report that Pa-pa and I did indeed take the kids to the Christmas parade and that the outing was a success in every way. The day was gorgeous, the candy was abundant, and even son Teebo joined us with Baby Beenie.
I had not attended a hometown Christmas parade since the days when Cookie herself marched down the street with the local high school band. This was the perfect way to experience it again, standing at the curb with four of my five grandkids, heralding the month of December and the Christmas season.
In fact, my enjoyment was extreme to the extent that I prognosticate a repetition of this particular transpiration approximately twelve lunar cycles from the present. But I have a feeling we will no longer be able to hide our plans with the verbal puffery that Cookie and I had so much fun with this year.
I have a feeling that, when Thanksgiving rolls around next year, the kids will already be looking forward to the "Christmas candy parade," and I will dare to hope for another day as perfect as this one.