Last night I was fortunate to ride on Santa’s sleigh in the San Bernardino volunteer public safety Christmas parade. I was bundled up for a cold night that warmed my heart, and at times I held back tears from old memories and new ones. I had childhood memories of this same caravan travelling down my parent’s street. We never knew Santa was coming, we heard it first, would peek out the curtains and see nothing (Santa’s caravan drives slow). Then, we’d realize Santa was coming and run out to the street to wave and shout, “Merry Christmas! – just like all the families did last night. I watched that same scene get recreated multiple times last night.
My seat gave me a unique perspective – I was in front, just behind Rudolph. So, I could watch 4 police cars and 8 motorcops (with decorated bikes) riding ahead of the sleigh with lights flashing and a variety of sirens blaring announcing Santa’s arrival. Their sirens and lights attracted attention, but their riding skills were AMAZING! It was like “Dancing With The Stars” on steroids. It was thrilling to watch them circle, figure eight, and squeeze by small places. I’ve ridden motorcycles for over 20 years, and was in awe. You can imagine how thrilled I was, when an officer let me sit on one and get my picture taken. I was as excited as the kids who saw Santa! BTW: Her bike had the best lights and decorations. Yes, HER bike.
Beyond having a bird’s eye view of the dancing motorbikes, I also saw resident’s faces BEFORE they saw Santa. Most were glowing with pure joy and happily waving. I was too, so maybe we mirrored each other. Everybody was elated when the parade unexpectedly travelled down their street. Our caravan stopped traffic as we travelled on our 4.5 hour city tour, and even motorists were thrilled to briefly see an unexpected parade. They waved back to me with a smile and, “Merry Christmas!”
At specified locations, we stopped so the kids could talk to Santa and we handed out candy canes to the residents. One little girl came up, gave back her candy cane along with a hug and said, “Merry Christmas.” She asked which reindeer was Rudolph and if she could touch it. Of course! One lady told me she just moved here and this was the nicest thing she’d ever seen a city do. “Welcome to San Bernardino” I said. “I hope you enjoy the neighborhood.” We said quite a bit more, but you get the gist.
Behind Santa’s sleigh were lots of firemen with 4 or 5 reserve fire engines. The ladder truck was about 70 feet long and had a second fireman navigating/steering the back. Some of the streets we traversed were narrow and once I watched them navigate into a school parking lot in between multiple other vehicles and was sure the truck would be half in and half out of the driveway. Nope! So, I told them how impressed I was with their navigation into these tight spaces. They were very sweet and humble about it. Basically, the San Bernardino public safety team is a mighty impressive group.
I almost forgot to mention, Christmas songs blared from speakers the entire time, so I took the advice of a great line from “Elf” ~ my favorite Christmas movie. “The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.” – I was more like Zooey Deschanel – not Will Farrell.
Lastly, it was fun to share this experience & have a running dialogue with my #UsGuys friends and #Moonlighting fans on Twitter. I tweeted throughout the route, and thankfully my iphone didn’t die.
MERRY CHRISTMAS & love you all!