IN YOUR EASTER
21 April 2003
We really had only intended to buy some fruits and veggies at the
Farmers' Market, but we found ourselves in the middle of the Davis Easter Parade.
It's not called the "Easter Parade" any more, of course.
Now it's the Spring Parade or something else very politically correct, but it still
stars the Easter Bunny, hats decorated with eggs, and lots of bunny ears and Easter
baskets. But it's not about Easter. That won't do.
The Davis Easter Parade is one of the things I love
about this town. It's so wonderfully "small town," so totally unorganized,
so very unique. A group gathers at the Senior Center, the town fire truck is at the
head of the group with the Easter Bunny in it, then the participants walk along behind and
taking up the tail end is the Cal Aggie marching band and a few cars with guys wearing hot
character suits riding in them. The mayor rides in the lead car.
The thing about the Easter Parade is that there is nobody to watch
it because it seems that everyone in town with a kid who might find it fun to watch the
parade is actually IN it! Every now and then you'll see a parent sitting on the
sidewalk with a young kid, but then you'll go a whole block before you see another parent
with another kid. All the rest of the kids and parents are marching...or ambling
along....or riding tricycles or scooters.
Everybody and his dog is in the parade.
The Davis Easter Parade has evolved over time. I think that we
were around for the first one, many years ago. I remember taking the kids to a
park...or maybe it was for a Christmas parade (the Christmas parade, which is now probably
called the winter parade, is pretty much the same deal, with elves instead of bunnies).
But as the kids got older, they started being part of the
organizers. Bob Bowen, who used to be head of the Department of Parks and Community
Services (who now has a different title, and who used to be Paul's boss), decided for a
couple of years that it would be a whole extravaganza, which would be broadcast on local
cable TV (this was just after the local cable TV began). They set up a reviewing
stand and TV cameras and the parade ended in a park with a carnival. Paul was the
roving reporter doing man on the street interviews of some of the participants. Jeri
and Ned were working in the Park. I think Ned wore one of the costumes--probably the
costume for the town mascott, a cow named Hamburger Patty (the name was chosen in a
contest; the contest was won by the local music teacher, Dick Brunelle who was Paul, Tom
and David's jazz choir teacher.).
The thing about these town traditions is that so
little changes over the years. The kids grow up and become adults--and maybe if they
stick around long enough their own kids will become participants in the town tradition,
but some things never change. For example, the guy wearing this squirrel suit is Jon
Lee, who was one of the roadies for Lawsuit and who has been wearing these costumes since
they first had costumes in this parade. (His wife was driving the car just
ahead of the car in which Jon was riding.
We hadn't even realized that the parade was taking place on Saturday
(now that we don't have little ones, we are out of the loop, celebration-wise), but when
we saw them begin to line up, I was glad that I had my camera at the ready and had a good
time taking pictures, even though we didn't know any of the kids who were participating.
Then we followed the parade, or rode along with it, I guess, as far as the Farmers'
You know, Audra, Paul's wife, is here with us for the
Easter weekend. She was telling us that when she was in vet school, she and her
classmates would always say that when they graduated they would go out into the world and
establish their careers, but when it was time to raise a family, they would come back to
I fought liking this town for a good 15 years. I
always said that the best thing about it was that it was close enough to San Francisco
that you could get there in an hour and 20 minutes. And that's still true (add
another 20 minutes for traffic these days).
But this was a great town to raise kids. And it's
things like the Davis Easter Parade that made it a fun place for kids to grow up. I
hope that our kids have as many fond memories of funky events like this as I do.