Parade is needed for ‘Chronologically Challenged’


Pat gets into the holiday spirit by decorating her walker. Photo provided by Pat Van Dyke

After Thanksgiving dinner was reduced to warm leftovers, I went outside only to discover that our neighborhood was already glowing with Christmas decorations.

Personally, I refuse to get out my Christmas decorations until my leftover turkey gravy forms a solid layer of fat after being placed in the refrigerator. I find it very difficult to walk into stores prior to Thanksgiving and be greeted by Christmas decorations. I really think each holiday deserves to be celebrated to its fullest without having another holiday try to overpower its luster.

For example, no one interferes with the Fourth of July or Labor Day. But Valentine’s Day is mixed in with President’s Day and the little-known National Toothache Day (Feb. 9). It is followed by National Cabbage Day (Feb. 17). I think this entire thing is getting a bit out-of-hand!

Just in December alone, “National Days of Celebration” abound! For example, there’s Eat a Red Apple Day (Dec. 1) with Put on Your Own Shoes Day almost a week later (Dec. 6). I barely had my apple digested before I had to attempt to bend over and tie my own shoelaces. I have now reached the size that I can’t even see if my shoes are tied or have laces and if they do.

I have now reached the age that I don’t care if they are tied or not! I don’t bend over anymore unless there’s a quarter on the ground. I’ll bend over for a quarter but for a dime, nickel or penny you won’t see anything happening. All that physical effort isn’t worth a dime, nickel or penny! But I do have to admit that if there is a penny on the floor, I’ll add a quarter to make the bend over worthwhile.

The month of December is filled with “Food Days.” There’s National Cotton Candy Day (Dec. 7) followed by National Brownie Day (December 8). Next on the calendar is National Pastry Day (December 9) along with Ice Cream Day (Dec. 13) not to be confused with “National” Ice Cream Day which is on June 21.

Just two days later is Lemon Cupcake Day (Dec. 15) and my own personal favorite, National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day (Dec. 16). This year, I plan to celebrate Dec. 16’s special event from dawn until sunset! Coco Puffs and a chocolate croissant for breakfast and a Dutch chocolate sandwich for lunch. Follow all of that with chicken and rice covered with a traditional Mole Poblano Sauce for dinner and I will be in chocolate heaven!

With all of these “days” set aside for celebrations in the month of December alone, you may find yourself extremely busy and miss the best two days of the month — December 24 and 25. I love all of the holiday preparations, celebrations, and excitement. I love the songs, church programs, seeing Santa, and candy canes. However, the best part of the month are Christmas Eve Candlelight Service and Christmas morning with the family. I do have to add my favorite community events that bring me out into the cold, camera-in-hand: the Tree Lighting Ceremony, the Boat Parade and the Golf Cart Parade.

However, this year, as I’m entering the “later years of my life,” I have noted that we do have one parade that is missing: call it the Parade of the Chronologically Challenged or the Parade of the Finely Aged or the Parade of the Mature Demographics.

Call it what you want but we Pensioners (65 and older citizens) need recognition of our own. We need a time for us to have the community cheer us on (for a fourth mile or so) to celebrate our style, fortitude and ability to endure.

We have endured much: The Real McCoys, American Bandstand, pet rocks, phones with cords and dials, black and white televisions and strap-on roller skates. We used public payphones, sketch and lift pads, fountain pens and hula hoops. Penny candy cost us a penny and a nickel could buy a coke in a bottle. We are a “hardy generation!”

A parade could be a time for our creativity to shine as we festively decorate our canes, walkers, or orthopedic shoes with the symbols of the season. We could be a “force to bargain with” as we hold our prune juice bottles high.

And what could be the winning prize for a successful quarter-mile walk?  A chance to compete in the fruitcake toss on Jan. 3, Fruitcake Toss Day! Right now the standing record for a “human fruitcake toss” (rather than a mechanical catapult) is 290 feet but I’m sure that I could toss my Aunt Bertha’s Holiday Fruitcake 10 feet farther. She always brags how “light and airy” it is!


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Pat Van Dyke