Thursday, December 07, 2006

Santa and Firetrucks

The town I grew up in is incredibly similar to the one that I now reside. They are both small communities - this one is much bigger than the one in Montana, but the feel is still the same. They have the same era of architecture and both have roots in ranching and farming.

I could not wait to leave Montana and explore the wide world. I lived for awhile in Seattle proper. It was fantastic and I would still be there if it weren't for the kids. It's not that it isn't a good place to raise children, it's just that I could have never afforded the space needed for a family.

So, now I live in a nearly carbon copy of the town I couldn't wait to leave - and strangely enough, I love it here.

My neighbors (Natalie, Mistah and Grace), the girls and I all went to the annual Santa parade on Saturday. While the kids pushed their way to the front, the good candy procuring spots, the three of us adults hung back. We still had a great view of the parade and and even better view of the parade crowd.

The parade has very few floats and marching bands but tries valiantly to make up for it with car clubs and Boy and Girl Scout troops. It's not much, but somehow it is just right.

At the end of the parade is what everyone in town is waiting for - Santa on the firetruck.

Santa on a firetruck is pretty damn exciting if you think about it. But it is really just the signal for all of the people of this town that the Christmas season has begun.

You see, Santa doesn't just go back to the North Pole after his jaunt down Main Street. He hangs out here all month. The firetruck stays decorated with millions of miniature multi-colored lights. The Christmas carols still blare from loud speakers. Santa is on top of the fire truck in his bright spotlight.

Every evening volunteers from all of our town's fire departments jog behind the slow-moving, brightly-lit musical truck. Everyone runs from their houses at the sound of the super slow siren mixed with Christmas carols to wave madly at Santa. He always waves back, and often the truck comes to a stop if there are over three or four kids that have come to greet him.

All the hunky firemen hand out candy canes to each child, mother, father, grandparent and stray passer-by.

They go around town for about 3 hours every evening from the end of the Christmas parade through to Christmas eve. Each and every street of town is canvased. No child is left behind.

Tonight was our night.

I freaked out when I heard the siren because the girls had been invited to go downtown with the neighbors for dinner. I literally jumped up and down with worry, called Natalie on the off chance that they had not left yet.

They hadn't.

The three girls poured out of Natalie's house with no less fervor than they have ever had in years before. Santa was still as brightly lit, the music was still as loud (and the firemen were still as adorable....ahem...).

And the light in their eyes burned as brightly as it did the years that I was still absolutely sure they still believed in Santa.

From what I saw tonight, I think they are still safe in their belief this year.


At 5:10 AM, Blogger Ant said...

That's so cool! We have nothing like that over here...

Is it still snowy?

At 3:44 AM, Blogger Squishi said...

Santa comes in a fire truck in Australia too! Almost every town has that... and if one isn't available, then he comes in on the back of a trailer.

It's hot here though, so the poor guy in the Santa suit nearly expires, but it's totally worth it.

Totally. :)


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