Primed and ready for the race, we stood patiently. We had our locations planned in advance, and we got there early to secure the spot. This was the time for magic, we knew we would see the man in the red suit, but our real prize rained from the heavens.
A band near the beginning? Come on! Give us a break! Here it comes. Dad, let go of my shirt. Dad! It started raining confection like arrows from long bows. Smack, crush, thump, thump. I got one. Here we go again. Thump, crash, smash, crush. Man, I missed it. I’m going to have to get a little faster. Maybe I could get a head start. Dad, let go of my shirt. Thump, thump, thump. Where did it go? Down the storm drain. Waste. This isn’t working so well. One. Well, she doesn’t have any. It could be worse. Thump, smash, thump. I got all three. Crash. He got another one? I have to catch up. Dad!
It went like this for a while. She still didn’t have any at the end. I had plenty. Dad asked me to give her some of mine. Reluctantly, I did. It was hard work, and I was pretty upset. I reached into my bucket and grabbed a handful. I gave it to her. I thought Dad was a communist, well not really, I was only five, I didn’t know anything about communism until I was at least six. I was just so upset that I had to give away my candy. Until she smiled.
She was missing a few teeth and as the first taste hit her tongue the smile came to her. I’ll never forget her awkward, toothless grin. Her eyes sparkled, and she wouldn’t take them off me even as the man in the red suit rode by on the fire truck. She never said, “thank you,” but it was implied by those eyes. They peered straight into my heart. I never saw the girl again, but I’m glad she didn’t get any candy until I gave her some.
Dad taught me an important lesson that parade. He taught me to be a gentleman. It has served me well over the past 27 years. The next time someone holds the door open for you, it may be me. In a few years, it may be my son. Chivalry is not dead, and it won’t die, as long as we teach our sons.