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Memory of Christmas past

Posted: December 18, 2012 4:18 p.m.
Updated: December 19, 2012 5:00 a.m.

I enjoyed watching this year’s Christmas parade with (Kershaw County School District Superintendent Dr.) Frank Morgan standing in front of Greenleaf Villa. Reflecting on it now, I must share with your readers the fact that there is nothing like a small town Christmas parade. Having personally participated in a more than a dozen, I can honestly speak of the joy and excitement of being in such a parade.

In high school, the Camden High Band marched in numerous parades of a much larger venue including the Mardi Gras. As an adult, I had the privilege of being a balloon-holder in two Macy Parades and a marshal for one Orange Bowl Parade. All were exciting experiences. However, as we watched and chatted, Frank mentioned that a small venue affords anyone the opportunity to participate. From a flatbed truck to a bicycle of crepe paper, the joy is for everyone.

Immediately, my mind raced back to the 1958 Camden Christmas parade. We were marshaled at Hampton Park. Upon the start, we made a right turn onto DeKalb and a left turn onto Broad. This particular year, the police department sponsored a bicycle decoration contest. The winner was to receive a bicycle light.

With my trusty JC Higgins coaster as a base, I taped enough crepe paper to that bicycle and to myself to cover Wimberly Hall. I vividly remember peddling down DeKalb Street as large pieces were coming off and flying away behind me. I just peddled faster. Mother told me after the parade that with pieces of paper streaming off of me, I looked like a big ball of crepe paper coming down the street. All I know is I had one of the “times” of my life. It was what I call a Norman Rockwell moment gone bad.

I did not win the contest. But I won something much greater. That is a 54-year-old memory so precious that it defies time. I saw the makings of the same kind of memories in many little faces last Saturday. Watching was a sheer joy of the heart. There is not a better Christmas parade anywhere than the one held in Camden.

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