Clouds of powdery snow whipped up by a truck heading into town turned into seconds of pure whiteout on the highway to Burton. Seconds I didn’t have to spare, running behind as I was to catch the annual Christmas parade.
Pulling into the community hall, there was a suspicious dearth of parked cars and chilled Burtonites along the stretch of road between the Burton Learning Centre and the hall.
Seeing my friend trudging up to the parking lot where a lone pickup truck was the only company for my car, I joked to him that the Recession had finally hit Burton and the parade had been cancelled. The quip was just about as funny as the truth: waking to minus mid-teen temperatures, Burton had put the kibosh on the holiday parade, I was told. It was an arctic front that had hit the town, putting a slight chill on the celebration.
Only Santa, with North Pole iceberg hardiness beneath his insulating red suit and white beard, made the trek on the the flatbed decked out with sleigh, lights and tree. The lone float arrived shortly after coral clouds shot the sky and coloured the horizon against the sharp relief of Scalping Knife mountain.
Fire Chief Brian Harrop had more bad news as we made our way to the hall: there was no roasted pig for the pig roast. Perhaps the wily porker had gone “wee wee wee” all the way out the distributor’s clutches, or teamed up with a very eloquent and artful spider and convinced the farmer to kosher it up this year, but in any event there was no crackling this year. Instead, Legendary Meats had supplied pork tenderloin, which also went very well with beans, sauerkraut and applesauce.
Rather than the customary outdoor fire barrels, ratcheting up the excitement this year was a silent auction replete with things like helicopter rides, skis and a “mystery box” that garnered a lot of competing bids. Meal tickets, auction, and bar all put together monies needed by the Burton Volunteer Fire Department.
After dinner and some baked goodies for dessert, tables were moved aside and the hall was filled with live music for dancing. Stuffed to the gills with the delicious dinner and surrounded by good cheer, it was clear the spirit of celebration continued with or without a parade and pig.