I look forward to the Christmas parade like a dog sits patiently shivering for a treat. I try to contain my excitement and not act like a child who has over dosed on sugar, but even at my advanced age I am not all that adept at controlling my kid impulses. If you think I am kidding, I bought myself a Grover this week. Oh, you aren’t quite sure who or what a Grover is? Well folks, he is a character from Sesame Street and was never as popular as Big Bird, Bert or Ernie, but was my favorite when I used to watch the show with my son a million years ago. I have wanted a stuffed version of him ever since Shawn was a baby, but back then I had a house full of children not a house full of money to spend on frivolous things; so I had to live without him. I now have a Grover and did not feel the slightest embarrassment in buying him or expressing great joy in finding him and him finding me. I am sure the young girl at the check- out thought me to be not only weird, but was relieved I hadn’t bought all that many things and would not be in her line long. So you see, I may be older, but a great big kid lurks inside and is not afraid to come out and play without much provocation.Harold and I watched the parade from Wedding Oak Winery and it was buzzing with people. Lynn and Mike were wonderful, as usual. I was so touched when Daniel McWilliams, one of the Rusty Brothers, came in, gave me a hug and mentioned how he really enjoys Patches’ blog. Harold and I had actually talked earlier about bringing Patches with us, but we can never be sure of how he will respond in a crowded setting. He loves people and we never worry about him biting or anything, but controlling him is another matter. I suppose we are just selfish enough to want to have a good time ourselves and an out of control Patches does not allow for that.This is mean, but his antics when he knows we are leaving are stuff from which comedies are made. If he is outside he will sit facing the back fence all hunched up and refuse to acknowledge us no matter what we do. Harold thinks saying his name in an excited manner as if he is inviting him on a trip to Disneyland will fool him into running into the house; but Patches is nobody’s little idiot dog. He knows in the end he will be locked in the kitchen with only a bowl full of water and his pieces of food to scatter like the manic, neurotic he is; but he will make Harold walk out in the yard and physically carry him to his jail cell. The look on his face as Harold reaches for him always breaks my heart. It is a cross between I hate you, and I love you so much, how could you break my heart so? I guarantee, it is a pitiful look indeed! I have always been the one to feel guilty about leaving children to do anything for myself and I suppose it is why I have been the one our children have run to when they have wanted things…mom has "push over" written all over her and "guilt trip starts here" stamped on her forehead; and just because Patches and Peepers have fur, not skin, does not make the guilt any less difficult for me to handle.Speaking of guilt, Harold is great at avoiding it. Sharing is like breathing for me. I have let people use my car for weeks at a time, borrow all kinds of money, have money I know I will never see again, take paintings off my walls, copies of my novel, and the list goes on; but Harold seldom shares even a bite of food off his plate, even when Patches sits right in front of him wearing his most adorable dog in the world look. I do not even need a holiday season to bring on such behavior, a symbol like Santa Clause, or neatly wrapped presents to put me in a giving spirit; nope, just finding someone who needs something will do it for me. I know why Harold worries, because he feels I am an easy target for which to take advantage; but my point has always been no one can steal that which is given freely.As we stood out on the sidewalk this year watching the procession of lighted vehicles go by, and heard all the wonder and joy in the voices of those seeing the display, I realized I was not the only one with a child’s heart in an adult body. There was such a warm, endearing, and loving closeness sharing the experience with others; and I am so glad we decided to do it this year. I am sure Patches will get over being left at home for those few hours and eventually forgive us, and I have yet another priceless memory imprinted in my heart. San Saba is a very special place every day of the year and while certainly there is room for improvement, this town has so many wonderful and priceless qualities. I love you all with all my heart and I thank you so much for letting me into your homes and into your hearts.