I haven’t been in a parade since I was 10. That year, it was in May, and it was the May Day “Blue Army” parade on Ouellette Avenue. I was an altar boy at a Catholic Church in Riverside, Ont. (now part of Windsor). The bishop of London was there to bless us. Hundreds of altar boys, nuns, priests, Knights of Columbus members, all marching in the faith. We were the answer to the May Day parades in Moscow. Or so we were told. It was the 1950s. We feared an attack by the Russians. Any day.

And so I was thinking of this as I was asked to be in yet another parade. This time as an adult. This time for Santa Claus. I was there as the Poet Laureate. I stood in the cold waiting for the white 2008 Mustang driven by 22-year-old Holly, a dental assistant in Windsor. It was such a relief slipping into the seats of her car, the heater full blast to warm my cold feet.

I was so amazed at the crowds along Ouellette Avenue. And I recognized so many people. This was spectacular. So well worth doing.

On top of that, I brought along a small camera and photographed the behind-the-scenes goings on. Here are some of those photos. P1000840 P1000868 Santa MAN ON STILTS P1000900 P1000828 P1000837 P1000859 P1000827