“Imagine being magically transported to Bedford Falls
[the town in "It’s a Wonderful Life"].
The Montrose Christmas Parade would be there.”
The first Saturday night in December, our community comes together. Like the great animal migrations, we move. With the same ferocity of the wildebeest and caribou, our human-herd converges on Honolulu Avenue for the Montrose Christmas Parade. With survival as the prime motivator, wild animals instinctually migrate to areas that guarantee a good climate and abundant food. Our reasons are similar, but not as critical. We arrive, no matter the weather, prepared and protected with food and drink, blankets and chairs.
The traditional small town parade fills us with a childlike excitement and a sense of nostalgia. I can’t quite put my finger on the reason why, but without fail I find myself overwhelmed with emotion and my eyes filling with tears of joy as I watch the procession make its way down the street. So, year after year I am there – either in the parade or sitting along the route. Either way, I’m enthralled.
When I think of “the parade,” the first word that pops into my head is cold. The word association is well-founded by past parade weather. Come December, storm systems begin to make their way out of the Gulf of Alaska and down the coast. After catching a ride on the jet stream, they move in and impact our weather, i.e. fall shifts to winter. Over the past 38 years of parade history, we’ve had many variations of cold. Those include just plain old cold, freezing cold, cold and windy, cold with rain, clearing and impending storm cold. The worse, by far, is the rain/wind combination.
The solutions to staying warm vary – some are creative, while others (please forgive me) a little wimpy. When our boys were just a baby and a little guy, we would bundle them up so snuggly they could barely move. Dressed in go-to-Mammoth winter clothing and each holding a warm little boy, we endured until Santa arrived on a fire engine (before helicopters were invented). Hot coffee held in mittened hands prevented frostbite. Nowadays there’re alternatives. Many watch from restaurant windows as they dine and stay warm. I still prefer to be in the midst of marching bands, Scouts, horses, dogs, wolves and unpredictable weather.
The 39th annual parade weather forecast is a good one with dry conditions and mild temperatures. Highs into the 70s and lows about 50 are predicted. So, “No rain on your parade,” but by next week expect a change.
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.