Sunday, November 16, 2003

red noses running

Spent the day down at the Santa Claus parade, third year in a row. This year, a bunch of us helped out Jess and Dee by selling noses for Sunnybrook/Women's down at Queen and Yonge. All I hoped was that it wouldn't be as bone-chilling damp as it was last year.

Did not get off to an great start. Took longer to get ready than expected, so I made a mad dash to the subway. Thought I'd make it down just in time, until a fire investigation at St. Patrick station brought the Yonge line to a crawl, then stop. I was stuck at St. Clair and nearly got off to search for a taxi, until it was announced all was good to go.

Arrived 15 minutes late, but that didn't seem to matter too much. Picked up a bag of moses and headed south on Yonge with Kiersten and Dee's mom. Business was good - went through two bagfuls quickly. Was a little nervous at first, following behind the others, then gradually starting bellowing out like a baseball game program huckster.

The parade took awhile to reach our cubbyhole. We had the area around the van semi-cordoned off, which didn't prevent onlookers from trying to sit on the van or crowding around it. We had to act like cops to shoo people away, which some took better than others - a few comments were muttered under people's breaths. One family tried not to understand the concept of "move away", asking every possible way to stay.

At least we could see the action, unlike others in the crowds around us. People would swoop down and block the view of those who'd been standing for hours, leading to a few near-bustups. Kiersten got to stand in the middle of one, as an older woman started yelling at others. So much for holiday cheer.

There was a long lull between the first few clowns (the only one I recognized was Norman Jewison) and the parade proper. Kids went running after the clowns, pulling on the odd one. Some candy landed our way, with thumbs down on the gum. "Disintegrates in the mouth" was the concensus.

Things were brighter once the rest of the parade rolled by. One of the highlights was the little kids in miniature Florida Orange Juice cars. Cute to begin with, but even cuter when they piled into each other when coming to a brief stop while waiting for the folks ahead of them to turn the corner.

One motorized bear (forget who the sponsor was) sped down the street, making me wonder if there were frat students inside planning revenge against the world. Astonished it didn't wipe out at the bend. Lots of marching bands, mostly from western New York state. Lots of happy kids walking or riding along. More miniature cars, from Pizza Pizza, but no pileups.

The parade wrapped up just past 3. After the crowds thinned out, we headed over to Church St to Hair of the Dog to grab food and drinks, and for some to say goodbye to a friend who was going away for a month. We caught the transition from brunch to dinner - I went for the former. Forget the name of what I had (along the lines of "easy pie" or "easy as pie") but it was the largest breakfast dish I'd seen since my last trip to Louie's in Detroit. A huge bowl with a bottom layer of scalloped potatoes, then ham and peameal bacon, then poached eggs with hollandaise sauce. Very good, but very filling, but luckily Chris was able to finish it off.

Left around 6, loped back up here, then sat staring into space in a daze for an hour, letting my body finish thawing. - JB

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