Good Mornin’! Good Mornin’!
Greenwood has always been a special place for me.
Heck, I was born there and went to kindergarten there and heck, they used to have two picture shows. I even saw the box office smash “The Green Slime” movie in the late 60’s at the one downtown.
I may have been one of literally tens that saw it. Lol. My grandparents used to buy me clothes at Phil’s Squire Shop (I once had two leisure suits) and there was always time spent at Goldberg’s getting new shoes from J.B. Coleman who also had this cool way of tying your shoes that no one could replicate.
And a trip to Shipley’s capped off every adventure.
But Greenwood was special for one extraordinary incredible reason.
They had the biggest Christmas Parade in the world, at least to me. And the only Christmas Parade I had ever witnessed in person.
The Greenwood Christmas Parade or The Roy Martin Delta Band Festival and Christmas Parade was the official beginning of all things seriously Christmas for me. We’d load up the station wagon and traverse Highway 7 through Morgan City, Quito, Itta Bena and finally hit Grand Boulevard in Greenwood. We’d park somewhere near the Christmas tree lot and my father bought a tree there and it got securely tied to the roof.
I don’t know if this was before or after the parade. But it did get bought and carried home.
But the parade was magic. Ol’ Roy had a great idea 85 years ago. He put together a Delta Band Festival and Christmas Parade. In its heyday colleges and high schools from all over the south filled the streets for what seemed miles.
They marched and high stepped and the high school band director probably beamed with pride.
The parade became a huge success and at some point, those in charge decided to honor Roy by putting his name on it.
As always, there was Santa at the end of the parade waving and smiling and we all stood tall and clapped and cheered hoping he’d notice how good we were being and glad he didn’t see us a few minutes earlier with all the whining about how long the parade is…lol...
But for me and countless thousands, Santa was the man but after he came by and the floats and bands scurried by, the brave men on the Yazoo River lit up the fireworks and we all “oo’ed and ah’ed” for what seemed like an hour of fiery glory.
That and my father blowing up stumps with dynamite cemented my love for fireworks so much so that I keep a gym bag full in my truck, just in case.
This year, thanks to COVID, they held the parade but it was the “Roy Martin in Reverse.”
The event was Drive-thru parade along the entire original parade route throughout the city of Greenwood.
The Dec. 4 event ran 4 p.m. to 6: p.m. with fireworks afterward.
The dang beer virus may have altered the parade but it didn’t dampen the Roy Martin spirit and memory.
And it could never take away the uniqueness of Christmas in Greenwood, a very special time, now and forever.