Oh, how my dad loved the annual Christmas boat parade.
Years ago, when the kids were little, they’d get all gussied up in their holiday finery and we’d drive up to Ft. Lauderdale to watch the festivities from his balcony overlooking the intracoastal waterway. Dad would fuss over his famous eggnog adding dollops of ice cream and pinches of allspice until it was flavored just right. Sue, his wife, would prepare a delicious buffet that always included a sticky sweet, baked Ham. My kids would enter a state of sustained holiday ecstasy stuffing their little faces, running in and out of the condo and fussing over grandpa’s binoculars.
As we sat on the balcony of the Ft. Lauderdale Marriott this past Saturday, watching that very same Christmas boat parade, I could feel my dad and Sue’s overwhelming presence. It was as if they were both still alive, quietly sitting in chairs right next to me, delighting in the familiar spectacle.
I wasn’t sure if I was happy or sad.. It was like a comfortable, in-between space.
I could see people, young and old, through the windows of homes and condos nearby.. grafting their own family celebrations onto this special event. It was a beautiful, timeless almost mystical connection; a never-ending ribbon of light enveloping them and me, dad and Sue, Christmas past, Christmas future and that very, sacred moment just sitting there on the balcony.
I didn’t want the parade to end, and in some strange way I felt reassured that the full essence of it all maybe does keep floating on and on through time.