The Salute to Israel parade

The Salute to Israel parade

The Salute to Israel parade, or whatever it may be called now, was the social event of the year. The place to see or be seen. Or at least it was in my mind. I know that I have written about the parade before, so I will try not to repeat duplicate sentiments. Though it bears repeating that the year that Yavneh Academy held umbrellas as part of its theme — and it rained — I wasn’t granted parental permission to march in the parade. Though if I had been allowed, I am sure that the said umbrella would still be in my parents’ basement, somewhere, amongst the ruins of my childhood.

In any event, this year I didn’t even realize that the parade was happening. There are many reasons for this, and they all come back to the same theme — I am old.

When I googled this year’s parade, the security measures were both daunting and depressing. The days of flirting with police officers to let you cross the street and or barricades are clearly over. Well, they are clearly over for me, and I am assuming they are now over for everyone. Metal detectors, proof of identity, pre-parade screenings — these all are signs of the times. All sad. But the fact that there still is a parade, that hundreds of children are marching, all excited wearing their matching t-shirts, is almost uplifting enough to cancel out the overabundance of police protection and the haunting undertones of the current situation.

I have fond memories of when Yeshivas Noyam was sparkling new and Son #1 and his classmates finally were old enough to march in the parade. It was adorable. Seeing them march this year, I have to admit, got Husband #1 and me a bissel weepy. All those years when he marched alongside his boys, proudly wearing his “free” t-shirt…those t shirts are still alive, well, chock full of holes, and worn every night to sleep.

Were we at the parade? Alas, we were not. Why? (I know you didn’t ask, but I will tell you anyway because, really, it is still all about me.) Well, we weren’t at the parade because 1. We didn’t realize it was the parade until Friday and 2. Husband #1 was prepping for…wait for it…..wait for it….it has to do with getting old…..yup, you guessed it, his colonoscopy.

So there we were, sitting on our very comfortable couch, watching the parade on Channel 9, while Husband #1 was drinking his clear fluids and some drink that makes prep a little easier. One drink at 2 (conveniently scheduled after mincha) and one drink at 8, which he changed to 9, so he could go back for the evening prayer service. Because that is how we roll.

I had never watched the parade on television before. Every time we saw someone we knew, we would get all excited because, “Hey, look who is on TV!!!” We even sent some screenshots to the people we saw. Of course that involved rewinding, pausing, turning the camera on the phone around, rewinding again, yelling at Husband #1 because he rewound too far or paused at the wrong spot — then he would ask why I needed to take a picture and why was I bothering him when he just wanted to prep in peace. You know, just a regular Sunday in our empty nest.

It was actually miraculous that we were in the same room, so there’s that.

When I had spoken to my friend at the end of the day, she told me how fun it was to see all the “newly skinny” people that she hadn’t seen in a while. Apparently “everyone” is on Ozempic or an Ozempic-like weight loss product. (I, of course, am not, because the world still needs big girls to make the small girls feel better about themselves.)

That is what the parade is all about. Forget about unity and a love for Israel. The parade is about seeing people who have either let themselves go or have not. At my age, it is probably about seeing who gets fillers and Botox. In 10 years, I am assuming it will be about who has had plastic surgery.

As long as there is still a parade and future generations of parade-loving, Israel-supporting humans, it doesn’t matter what we look like.

Am Yisrael chai!

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is now watching a bunch of mommies push strollers around the Ridgewood Duck Pond and is pretty weepy about that.

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