My birthday and the Born Again in a Biker Bar eBook giveaway are around the corner. Hollister’s annual Lights On Celebration and parade proceed it so I thought it would be a great time to share an excerpt from my memoir relating to the event. If you enjoy this and want to read more you can purchase my book at all major retailers or wait and download it for free on December 9th.
This excerpt is from the chapter titled – Lights On Parade – A Float, Are You Crazy?
Our first year at Johnny’s was a whirlwind. The pre-rally led to Halloween, which led right into Thanksgiving, followed directly by the annual Lights on Parade, an event sponsored by our local Downtown Association. Every year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, a parade of floats made by local businesses and nonprofits makes its way down San Benito Street. As with the Rodeo Parade, people line the streets with chairs early in the day so that they will have a good view of the festivities. As a new business owner in Hollister, I resolved to take part in all of its events. Because of my competitive nature, I was determined that not only would we build a float, but that our float would win best in show. I informed my husband that it was something we just had to do, and despite his vehemently disagreeing with me, a plan was hatched to build a float.
Many of our wonderful customers offered to help, but before I could concentrate on the project I had to get through the busiest karaoke night we’d ever seen. The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving was off the hook. The place rocked until two a.m., and then I had to return to Johnny’s early to cook a full-blown Thanksgiving meal for our friends who didn’t have a place to go. About twenty-six members of the Johnny’s family were in attendance, and we had a wonderful time. Tommy said the blessing and thanked God for all of our wonderful customers and friends, as well as a prospering business. Then everyone ate, drank, sang songs, and played games. I was exhausted, but happy to bring so much joy to a great bunch of people. Sadly the workaholic spent most of her time in the kitchen and missed out on the camaraderie. I hadn’t come to grips with my overachiever self, who missed out on most of the fun in order to take care of business.
The following Friday I offered up free pizza and beer for our helpers, and the building of the float commenced. One of our customers had a trucking company and not only offered to supply the twenty-five-foot flatbed that would house our float, but he also volunteered to pull it in the parade. Another friend, Dave let us use his Harley-Davidson and volunteered to wear his Santa suit on the float. A wonderful artist friend painted the sleigh, and it was so gorgeous that it looked like it was right out of a Christmas storybook.
We turned the float building project into one heck of a party. When it got dark Tommy rigged some lights and we worked until eleven o’clock at night. It was frosty, but people just put on gloves and jackets and continued to work. We put planks in place and rolled Dave’s orange Harley-Davidson up onto the trailer and decorated it with lights and used tinsel as reins between it and the sleigh that Tommy built. We decorated the Christmas tree and put beautifully wrapped presents underneath it. We positioned a light-up snowman on a platform that Tommy built and surrounded it with lights. It was absolutely breathtaking. When we were finished we all stood back and admired our handiwork in silence. We were too awestruck to speak. I finally raised my beer and offered a toast. “To the best friends anyone could hope to ask for. We couldn’t have done it without you.”
The night of the parade the bar was so packed that I almost skipped riding on the float to stay and help the girls at the bar. I would have missed out on a wonderful experience. Tommy and I sat in the sleigh, and Jeana’s daughters sat on the Harley-Davidson, with Dave in his Santa suit keeping watch over them. As we passed in front of the bar, the crowd went wild, and I felt like I was queen of the Rose Bowl Parade. I get goose bumps today remembering it. I got my wish: We won best in show. When I announced to the bar that we were the victors, they all but raised the roof with their cheers. To me it made all the stress and bickering worth it. Tommy may have a different opinion.
We serve a miracle working God. Tommy and I have been together over twenty six years and he has been sober for more than ten. I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. Remember you can download my book for free on December 9th. If you’d like the paperback it is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Of course you can always stop by Johnny’s and purchase your autographed copy for $15.00.