Yesterday morning Betsy and I watched NBC’s annual three-hour parade of commercial advertising and self promotion. Some continue to refer to this time-waster as Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. True, Macy’s is a sponsor and provides the location for the event’s various parade-halting performances.
But a parade it is not. Not by my definition, which recalls a time when parades were not stopped repeatedly performances by dancers, singers and television personalities, most of whom I had not heard of or seen before and don’t wish to ever again.
Yet this annual made-for-television endless string of commercials continues to attract millions of adoring fans, both on the street and watching at home, or ignoring while preparing the big meal. Makes one wonder.
Big bands, for me, are a glorious highlight of a real parade. Hundreds of young musicians work all year to prepare wonderful performances, and what a treat they are. These bands still perform at half time in football games, but television decision makers in their wisdom have effectively taken that away from our eyes.
I lament the decline of real parades, as defined by my humble standards. The Tournament of Roses folks in Pasadena, California, still know how to stage a parade dominated by great bands, handsome equestrian ensembles, and beautiful floats, as it should be. Now that’s a parade.
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Here’s a tip for making your Thanksgiving even better: Next year, as the date approaches and you begin making plans for preparing the meal and assembling your family, look around you. Take note of that neighbor, fellow worker, that person in your book group, that one in your exercise class or community chorus, that widow, widower or otherwise single individual in your faith congregation. Invite that person to join you for the day. You both will be richer for it.