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December 12, 2009

The Battle of Carmel Valley Road

(Admin note: Jesse, send me an e-mail: you’ve won the $15 gift card to Wilderness Running Company. For the rest of you, there will be more giveaways this week, as well as some product reviews and an increasing focus on the upcoming Christmas holiday – which is partially the topic of today’s post.)

The former Carmel Valley Airport is a 25-acre open space which is now frequented more by joggers and dog walkers than by hangars and prop planes. Its runway fell into decay over a period of decades, and the landing strip was permanently closed to air traffic in 2002. (Its importance will never be forgotten, however; this airstrip was actually the driving force in Carmel Valley’s existence - but that’s a whole separate story.)

So you figure that for anyone to get clearance to land at the old airstrip, he must be someone pretty well connected. Someone who could pull a few strings. Someone highly influential.

Someone like Santa Claus.

Santa’s Fly-In is a beloved tradition in our little town, as is the annual Christmas parade that follows immediately afterward.

In typical small-town fashion, most years see more people in the parade than actually watching it from the sidewalks. And when the event happens to fall on a wet and windy weekend, the ratio of paraders to spectators is skewed even more dramatically.

However, since all the participants bring candy to throw, those kids who do brave the conditions are rewarded with a king’s ransom of candy. Sitting in the back of a pickup truck with a huge stash of candy, my 6-year-old daughter and I were throwing whole handfuls of the stuff to everybody we saw …

… including the truckload of junior high and high school kids immediately in front of us. The exchange possibly started as a few errant pieces of candy from one group coming close to the other, but quickly escalated into an all-out candy fight between the two adjacent vehicles. I quickly saw the writing on the wall when I considered:

1) The older kids were throwing from in front of us, so our truck was moving towards their attack, while their truck was constantly pulling away from ours, and …

2) They were throwing hard candy like Jolly Ranchers and Hershey’s kisses, while we were throwing “floaty” stuff like mini-Snickers and Starburst, and ..

3) My allies in battle against the pack of teenagers were a 6-year-old and an 11-year-old.

In other words, I was at a significant strategic and material disadvantage.

Fortunately, all of our skirmishes were conducted in fun, nobody lost an eye or was otherwise wounded, and when the parade was over, we all went our separate ways in good spirits. It’s another nice feature of life here in our little town: we like to enjoy ourselves, and we appreciate sharing these collective holiday traditions together.

But next year, I’m totally bringing some stronger ammunition.


Anne 12/14/09, 5:58 AM  

Sounds like a wonderful holiday tradition. Had to chuckle at the post title since I'm hosting a run along our Carmel Valley Road on Saturday.

Gretchen 12/14/09, 8:03 AM  

I'm pretty sure driving INTO a barrage of candy, rather than away from it, constitutes an advantage.

Backofpack 12/14/09, 8:17 PM  

There is no way I'd be throwing away chocolate! Definitely have to stock up on some fruity hard candy for the candy wars. Sounds like a blast!

Rainmaker 12/16/09, 7:40 PM  

Ha, that's hilarious. I'm coming to your town next year for the candy tossing...err...fighting. Mmm...free candy.

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