HPTNWS-11-21-21 CONFIDENTIAL.jpg

Children of all ages line Main Street as they watch the 1959 High Point Christmas Parade. But for one little boy (whose story is told in the inset article titled “His Last Christmas”), the Christmas parade came to him.

HIGH POINT — We don’t know the name of the little boy who made The High Point Enterprise’s front page on Nov. 29, 1959.

All we know is that he was 3 years old, he wore a red coat and hood, and of all the children who attended that year’s High Point Christmas Parade, nobody enjoyed it more than he did.

Why? Because he didn’t just go to the parade that year — the parade also came to him.

The lineup for that ’59 parade was a great one. The grand marshal was actress Amanda Blake — better known as Miss Kitty from the popular “Gunsmoke” television series — and other guests included Old Rebel and Pecos Pete from WFMY-TV’s beloved “The Old Rebel Show.”

One of the parade highlights that year was an XF-92A, an experimental U.S. Air Force plane designed to fly at supersonic speeds — an impressive-looking aircraft that would capture any little boy’s imagination.

Add to that the marching bands, beauty queens, ROTC drill teams, firetrucks and police cars, cowboys and horses, hot rods and a High Point Rescue Squad boat — not to mention jolly ol‘ St. Nick bringing up the rear — and you have the makings of a prodigious parade.

And it was, indeed, prodigious. The Enterprise called the throng of spectators “the largest crowd in High Point parade history,” which may or may not have been hyperbole, but either way speaks to the size and enthusiasm of the crowd lining Main Street that afternoon.

Among that crowd were the little boy in the red coat and his mother. We’re sure they were enjoying the parade, but the mother’s heart was heavy with emotion as she watched her son. Finally, she timidly approached a nearby police officer.

Here’s what happened next, according to The Enterprise:

“Officer,” she said, “I wonder if … could you … would it be possible for you to stop a clown or somebody in the parade and ask him to come over and talk to my little boy?”

The officer smiled and politely explained he didn’t have the authority to disrupt the parade like that.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I thought maybe you could,” the woman replied. “It would mean so much to him. You see, he has only two or three months to live.”

The policeman’s heart immediately melted — or, as The Enterprise put it, “Authority went out the window” — and the officer went looking for his sergeant. The sergeant, in turn, told a parade official about the little boy and his mother’s unusual request, and the wheels began turning quickly.

Before the young mother knew it, her little boy was getting personal visits from all sorts of parade participants: Clowns with red noses and oversized shoes. Macho cowboys with 10-gallon hats and six-shooters in their holsters. Firefighters in full turnout gear. Beauty queens in pretty dresses and sparkly tiaras.

Even Santa Claus — who, as you know, is a pretty busy guy — paused the parade long enough to go speak to the youngster, and what a moment that must’ve been. After all, it’s one thing to go stand in line somewhere to talk to Santa, but imagine Santa getting down out of his sleigh to come talk specifically to you!

The parade ended, the spectators left, and city crews cleaned the streets.

And an Enterprise reporter went back to the office and wrote about the little holiday miracle on Main Street, when a child received the best Christmas present of his life, and his mother went home with her heart the fullest it had ever been.

The headline on the article simply read, “His Last Christmas.”

Maybe it was the little boy’s last Christmas, and maybe it wasn’t — we’ll never know. But confidentially, we’re betting it was his best.

jtomlin@hpenews.com | 336-888-3579