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I saw a parade Friday night and it was magical! It was so wholesome and local and old-fashioned feeling what with hundreds of people lining the streets and everyone together out on a frosty night, even businesses open later than usual, hot chocolate and mulled cider in the air. I loved it! Nineteen dfferent high school bands marched down Market Street playing Christmas carols, and antique cars rolled by slowly, followed by the folks at Ace Hardware who had a float loaded with friendly faces and even a golden retreiver wearing a Santa hat. There was even The Lone Ranger, a guy in a blue polyester jumpsuit high atop a pure white horse popping his pistol every so often for no more reason than he likes to be in parades, I suppose.

My favorite sight to see, however, besides my own daughter marching along in formation with her flugalhorn held high, was a woman from the local college alone on a float that was lit up with bright white lights, and who was stunning to look at. She had on a short white wool coat, jeans and tall brown leather boots. There was a spot of color on her, maybe a red scarf, and her long blond hair fell all around her shoulders flowing lightly in the breezes. Mounted behind her was a white sparkly mantle from a fireplace framing her beautifully under the dark night sky. But the thing I adored most about this woman besides the vision that she was, was that she was singing in the most remarkable way. This lady had chosen to be all alone on her float, operatic runs and trills confidently tumbling into her microphone on top of some kind of clear and forceful aria. It seemed so out of place in a Christmas parade, I thought, but then the more I watched her roll by, singing so surely about whatever it was, in Italian I suppose, the more I admired the fact that she knew just who she was. She apparently knew that she fit in and she knew she could sing, and she was determined to share it all with us, despite our shortcomings at understanding.

It is the metaphor for myself I see over and over, people willing to sing their song despite the fact that the rest of us don’t necessarily get it right away. But I can tell you, this lady had me spellbound with her song because it was clear she cared about whatever she was saying, a lot, and she insisted with each beautiful phrase, that we listen and consider the possibility that what she had to offer was indeed something we needed to hear. I thank her for getting up there and showing me again the power of following your passion, and power of doing what you are good at just because it is what you want to do, and just because people will let you do it.