Columnists

From Paula . . .

Paula Dunn writes From Time to Thyme, a column that appears Wednesdays in The Times. Contact her at younggardenerfriend@gmail.com

(This originally appeared in 2020, but is still valid.)

Feeling down because Noblesville’s annual Christmas parade was canceled this year due to the pandemic?

Don’t worry, I have a solution. I’ve borrowed a time machine so we can go back to December 1, 1962 to see Noblesville’s very first Christmas parade. 

I got the contraption from this odd-looking dog and his little boy. The dog told me (yes, he talks!) they didn’t plan on doing any time-traveling today because they’d be visiting friends. (I could have sworn he said something about a moose, a squirrel and Frostbite Falls, but maybe I misheard him.)

Anyway . . .  follow me through the door of the WABAC (as in “way back”) machine and get ready to blend into the crowd. I’m sure they won’t notice a few thousand extra spectators. Just don’t whip out your cell phone to take a photo or you’ll have lots of ‘splainin’ to do.

Let’s find a spot downtown on Conner Street. (This parade formed on 16th Street near the old high school — Ivy Tech now — like always, but from there it went west on Conner to Eighth Street, north to Logan, and east, back to 16th.)

Looks like we’re just in time. Do you hear that Christmas music? That’s got to be one of the high school bands. Four of them are marching in today’s parade: Noblesville, Westfield, Sheridan and Jackson Central.

(Remember Jackson Central? That’s the school Jackson Township kids attended before Hamilton Heights was built.)

Also in today’s parade are delegations from the Boy Scouts, the Hamilton County Horse Association and the V.F.W., and the American Legion has a couple of drummers, a fifer and a flag bearer dressed up as the “Spirit of ’76.”

I see Happy Herb! Remember him? He’s the guy in the white sailor suit who introduced Popeye cartoons on Channel 4 (WTTV)  for a few years before passing the show on to Janie (Hodge.) (His last name is Isaacs, by the way.)

Oh look, here come members of the Indiana National Guard, passing out bubble gum to the children in the crowd.

They’re part of the 3rd Battalion, 139th Artillery and they’ve brought an 8” Howitzer AND an honest-to-goodness “Honest John” rocket. (Yes, a surface-to-surface missile with nuclear capability . . . right here in Hamilton County!) 

There sure are a lot of drums in this parade. Those passing by just now belong to the Jr. & Sr. Vaqueros, an award-winning local drum and baton corps.

Oooh, I just spotted MORE celebrities! The three men in that car are Harlow Hickenlooper (Hal Fryar,) Cap’n Star (Jerry Vance) and Curley Myers from WFBM-TV’s “All Hands on Deck,” another kids’ show. (This was before Channel 6 became WRTV.)

Harlow has a habit of getting pies in the face. He’d better watch out. One of the clowns on the parade route might sneak up on him.

Or, maybe they’ll get the Homecoming Queen to do it! I’ll bet Harlow wouldn’t see THAT coming!

Drat. This must be the end of the parade because here comes Santa Claus riding on a firetruck. (Shhh. Don’t tell anybody, but that’s not really Santa. He was too busy getting ready for Christmas to be here today so local realtor Garrick Mallery is standing in for him.)

I wish we had time to check out the miniature train display, the puppet show at the Diana Theater, the tree lighting ceremony and Santa’s new “Candy House,” but I only borrowed the WABAC machine for about an hour so we could watch the parade.

If I don’t get it back to that talking dog soon, he might sic Boris and Natasha on me!

Have a safe and happy Christmas!

(And keep your fingers crossed that the Grinch Who Stole the Christmas Parade will have a change of heart in 2022.)