Chapter Fifty-Four

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.Herc54.jpg

Chapter Fifty-Two

Tommy O’Connor was the King of the Christmas Parade of 1957. He went on to a measure of success in the movies. He was the third cowboy from the right in an Elvis Presley movie. He was a second dead soldier in a foxhole in a Lee Marvin movie. He was a portly orangutan in a Charlton Heston film. Eventually Tommy worked his way home and opened a used car lot where he spent his days spinning yarns and dropping names. Herc52.jpg

Chapter Fifty-One

Christmas Eve brought the magical Christmas parade to Main Street. The parade itself had seen better days. In the 1950s the parade was just about the biggest event in town.

People lined the streets shivering – holding tight to paper cups of hot chocolate. It was never too cold to wait for a chance to see the King of the Christmas Parade rolling by on a float covered entirely of flowers made out of colored toilet paper.Herc51

Chapter Forty-Nine

Booger Wilson liked to paint. He liked to create beautiful portraits on the canvases he bought at yard sales. No one knew Booger Wilson was an artist.  Most people assumed Booger Wilson was out creating mischief when – in fact – he could often be found arranging apples in a bowl to create a still life. He had dozens of paintings around the musty old garage.  He had still life studies and portraits of people who lived in his imagination. He wasn’t secretive about the paintings. He wasn’t embarrassed. He just didn’t advertise it. Herc49.jpg