The parade was a blur.
The Glee Club from General John G. Pershing Elementary School sang “Monotone Angel.” Betty Showalter was the featured soloist.
The Alter and Rosary Society handed out hot apple cider in their Mrs. Claus aprons and at the end of the parade Louise’s husband Roger sat on a big red velvet chair in a slightly worn red velvet suit and white beard held on by elastic straps. He talked to the kids a little and he listened to the kids a little, but when he saw who was on the King Of the Parade float he dropped a whole tin of candy canes.
Hercules the Lesser couldn’t understand why his sister would play such a cruel trick on him. He wasn’t angry or upset. He was just curious. After thirteen years on this earth without one person ever giving him a second look – why would he be chosen King of the Christmas Parade? The only votes he could have even considered were Louise and Miss Kravitz.
Booger Wilson might vote for him as a joke, but there was no way those few votes could have put him over. After while he realized she wasn’t kidding.
She tried to force him into his coat and galoshes so she could bring him back to Grumpy’s where he could get his crown.
Neither of them believed it was happening, but now they were slipping and sliding back to the place where the kids gathered – a place where dreams really do come true.
When Eileen Pulaski heard the news that her brother – Hercules the Lesser – was the King of the Christmas Parade, she was overcome with a mix of pride and fear. Of course, she was proud of her brother, but she was also scared what this might do to him. She was even more anxious about how the kids would tease him and make his life difficult.
She still couldn’t figure out how the kid did it – how he got himself a elected King of the Christmas Parade – but he did it. Now she knew she would have to do everything in her power to protect him. Eileen Pulaski defended Hercules the Lesser to the ends of the earth and back. She headed home to let him hear the news from her first.
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.