On behalf of illustrator Pete Wood and writer Paul Barile. We would like to wish you the happiest and healthiest of holidays filled with love and laughs and music.
However you celebrate – we wish you all the best. We’ll be back in 2019 with more from the boys and girls at General John G. Pershing Elementary School ! In the mean time – Just be you!
“Who?” someone asked.
“Hercules Pulaski,” Grumpy said as he walked toward Hercules the Greater with the crown.”
“I’m not Hercules Pulaski,” Hercules the Greater said. “I am Hercules Kennedy.”
“Stop playing, Boy,” Grumpy said. “Put on the dang crown and get up on the dang float.”
“I’m not him,” Hercules the Greater said. “He’s not here.”
Everyone looked around. No one was sure they would have even been able to pick the other Hercules out of a crowd. He was certainly not in this crowd.
“Can someone please find him?” Grumpy asked.
“I’ll get him.” Booger Wilson said
He pivoted on his heal and began to trot toward the home of Hercules the Lesser – Hercules Pulaski.
Everyone else just stood around scratching their heads trying to figure out what had just happened.
Hercules the Lesser stayed home and painted flames on the wings of his balsa wood airplane. He would get to the parade eventually, but he wanted to get the first layer of red flames painted so they could dry while he was gone. He could do the next layer – the yellow layer – when he got home. The students pushed and jostled for the best position to hear Grumpy announce the winner. When Grumpy said Hercules everyone breathed a sigh relief. They knew who it was going to be – they just had to hear it for themselves.
When Grumpy said Pulaski instead of Kennedy the crowd fell silent.
Early on the morning of Christmas Eve, all of seventh graders from General John G. Pershing Elementary School gathered behind Grumpy’s Coffee Shoppe and Ice Cream Emporium to see who was going to be crowned King of the Christmas Parade.
Hercules the Lesser didn’t even bother to show up. He wasn’t even on the ballot. As a matter fact – there were only six boys’ names on the ballot. The wildcard with this year was Booger Wilson.
Every year someone brought milk and cookies to the gazebo for Santa Claus and an apple for Rudolph. Christmas morning the milk and cookies would be gone and the families would have piles of presents under their trees.
By 1:15 the first float drags down the street through in front of a handful of spectators clinging to their memories of better parades. The last float is the King of the Christmas Parade float. Still the finest float in the parade – it is just a shadow of what it once was. After the parade – as in years gone by – everyone gathered at the gazebo in town to sing “Silent Night” then to be safe “Here Comes Santa Claus” before returning to their homes for dinner and football.
Over the years the spectacle of the parade slowly dwindled. These days people hurry up and down Main Street kicking the dirty slush up until about noon. Then Cleveland – the old policeman who should’ve retired decade or so ago – puts up the saw horses along the two blocks of the parade route.