It was decided at the last minute (this morning) to have Alfunz ride in the Xcel Energy Holiday Lights Parade (tonight) in an open horse drawn carriage with the Sanford Fargo Medical Center President and his wife.
bribed coerced asked my faithful “handler” Max, if he could help me costume-up. Luckily he said yes, because there ain’t no way in hell I can get into that costume by myself! Plus we have this down to a science – the transformation only takes 5 to 10 minutes. Plenty of time for him to meet up with some friends beforehand then join me at 6ish for the 6:30 start time.
I set out after work and immediately found myself deep in the throng of parade float entrants trying to park, and spectators trying to get a good seat. Cops were directing traffic and it was looking like I was going to have to park blocks away, then lug the 50 pound “body bag” several blocks, in the dark. Luckily Downtown Dad waved me into a parking spot right behind the building where I’d be changing, which, magically, was right on the parade route. I let Max know. He was happy to change his plans and meet me right away.
In case you don’t know, the temps in Fargo/Moorhead at this time of year can range anywhere from in the 50’s to double digits below zero. This evening it was a balmy 7 degrees above zero, with little to no wind. Before changing, I met my carriage mates, the medical center president and his wife, and other dignitaries, you know, Santa Claus. Since we’d be riding in an open carriage, I was pretty thankful that I would be wearing several layers of padding, costume, and fur feet and hands. Max arrived in plenty of time and true to form patiently pulled, pushed, zipped, snapped and belted me into the costume. All they while making me feel like I was dressing for a glamour shot, rather than strapping on a fat suit. Nothing but encouragement from that Max!
We made our way outside, in the dark, to the carriage, which, once we looked at it, was pretty small. There would barely be room enough for the President and his wife, let alone a 6 foot portly mouse! But we tried. I (Alfunz) experienced what it’s like to be “differently abled,” as people held my hands, and boosted me up, and tried to cram me into the tiny cabin. All that, then come to find out Alfunz wasn’t going to fit, so we reversed the process. I’m pretty happy that there were no pictures taken of that!
We decided (and by we, I mean the committee that had formed while stuffing me into the carriage – remember, I’m in costume and can only communicate by pantomime) that Alfunz should ride up front with the driver. Let me just say it is a good thing he was a skinny guy! The parade was about to start, so the committee hoisted and shoved and crammed again, this time in fast motion, and off we went. This parade was going to be just like Alfunz – “all fun from A to Z!”
I’m not sure what it looked like from the street, but here’s a taste of what I could see…
CeeCee, the horse (who I’m sure has a better side) was very well behaved. She hardly flinched at the sirens, and yells, and gunfire from the honor guard in front of us. And she only farted once!
Once again, nothing but encouragement from that Max.