As Mayor riding in parades has always been a favorite of mine. My two all-time favorite parades are the St. Patrick’s Day parade and our City of Naples Christmas parade which took place on December 11th. Many years ago, when my grandchildren were parade riding age I had no problem finding willing riders. After all there aren’t a lot of kids out there and a few adults as well that wouldn’t jump at the chance to be a parade rider.
Well after they became too old to ride I figured out a way that would make money for a local charity and make riding in the parades a memorable event. So, I picked one of the many charities we have in Naples that was having an event with a silent auction and donated riding in any of the parades with me. It was for two children preferably 3rd, 4th, or 5th graders, and I provided all the candy for throwing, beads, hats, and all other goodies that go with parades.
I’ll never forget the first time I did that because it sold for $1500.00. The charity was thrilled, the parents that bought it were thrilled for their kids, their kids were overjoyed, and I was happy and we all had fun. As time went by I expanded my horizons and found ways to make those parades beneficial for charities or kids
in our local schools. Last month I had the honor of being Principal for a day at Lake Park Elementary School. It was an amazing experience and I had a new sense of appreciation for our teachers and the school staff.
I shadowed the Principal that day, sat in on a staff meeting, visited classes and was exhausted when the school dismissal bell rang. I didn’t have any riders for the Christmas parade and asked Principal Marker if he would help me find two riders by having a writing contest with the best two entries of “Why I would like to ride in the Christmas parade with Mayor Bill Barnett” be the winners. It was for 4th and 5th graders. He said yes and of course the staff and their creative minds made it special with the claim being: “The Grinch is kind”.
I don’t think I could write a paper making the Grinch kind, but the two 5th grade winners that were announced today sure did! At the risk from my editor firing me because I’m going to overshoot my word limit but what the heck, it’s the Holidays!!! I am going to share one of the winning papers and next month the other. Amazing work! And, I don’t get paid so I probably won’t get fired.
“The Grinch is Kind” Most people think the Grinch is unkind, but I got a different thought on my mind. He started of malicious and rotten, but I think there is a spark of love in him that has not been forgotten. You may
think that the Grinch is very ugly and mean, But I think there is more to him that you have not seen. He’s
big and ugly and really smells bad, But he saved Christmas so all of Who-Ville is not sad.
He realized Christmas does not come from a shop, that is the day his heart was feeling on top. The Grinch returned all the gifts and all the food, To a pleasant surprise he was in a good mood. He put time and effort to
make things right, So all of Who-ville would have a jolly Christmas night. That day he was honored with love and joy, from every girl and every boy.
On Christmas day when it was time for the feast, the Grinch was the one that cut the roast beast. His heart isn’t as deep as a black hole, So maybe this year Santa won’t bring him coal. The Grinch is a very kind person inside, he may not be the best hero but the Grinch really tried. Next time when your heart isn’t feeling true, think, if the Grinch can do it so can you!
Happy New Year! I look forward to a great 2019 in our City of Naples and I do respond to emails at