POTUS is pouting, and I understand. I voted for Hillary, but in this case, I actually feel sorry for him. POTUS is pouting because surprisingly cooler heads are frowning on his dream of a parade. I understand.

I remember the Navy Day Parade in downtown St. Louis when I was 6 years old. My father, then a retiring Navy commander, was going to lead the St. Louis Naval Reserve detachment. I looked forward to watching him in his dress blues carrying one of his prize swords.

My dream was dashed when I came down with the measles. This came about because I caught them from Joan Eichelberger at her birthday party, one I didn’t even want to go to, where she insisted on playing spin the bottle.

I got over the measles, but my mother said I pouted for six weeks. Who knows?

POUTUS (Let’s just call him “45”) wants a parade. They say what he envisioned was something to top France’s great Bastille Day Parade. OK. I understand that because I, like 45, am emotionally 9 years old. This works for me, because I’m just a writer. But I can imagine that being emotionally 9 years old when you’re 45 can get you into trouble.

For example, when I was really 9 years old, I discovered a big jar of marshmallow whip in the kitchen pantry. I took it and a soup spoon over to the back of the convent yard and ate it all in one sitting. I’ll bet 45 can identify with such a taste test.


I can also understand the parade he really wants. I would want one too. That’s why I’m not 45. The White House is not the best place for an emotional 9-year-old.

This is what I think 45 imagined. I’m thinking that surely he must have seen William Wyler’s 1959 “Ben-Hur,” when Jack Hawkins, as Quintus Arrius, rode into Rome with Charlton Heston by his side and leading thousands, maybe millions, of Roman soldiers fully armed. Not to mention what looked like an 800-piece Nubian pipe and drum corps trailing along.

Heston, a big hero to 45’s base, must have impressed 45, especially with that score by the great Miklós Rózsa, conducted and recorded more recently by the fabulous John Wilson.

I know 45 wants something similar. He’ll want all that brass; those big, golden horns; bagpipes; and hundreds, no, thousands, of American high school marching band percussionists bused in from his base states.

As a fellow emotional 9-year-old, I can feel 45’s blood smoking up when he imagines himself as Quintus hugging Heston (VP Mike Pence standing in) and wearing that big, gold breastplate.

Try to see it as 45 does: Tens of thousands of troops — soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen; thousands of flags, including one from each state, and even Puerto Rico, flapping in the wind. Hurrah, boys! Strike up the band.


But if a full contingent doesn’t work out — if, for example, a small-scale war somewhere should break out and all those big, heavy Abrams tanks aren’t available — I would suggest hundreds of thousands of big yellow school buses full of cheering students to proceed along Pennsylvania Avenue, linking the Capitol and the White House.

It would, of course, be the same route as Donald Trump’s inaugural parade, with a stop for a free lunch in the grand dining room at Trump International Hotel. Hooray!

Imagine all those red baseball-capped supporters sitting down to lunch where diplomats from all over the world have dined.

Breaking News: The top brass have just dumped on the parade dream.

This can be fixed. If 45 can lower his sights a bit, I think the parade planners from central Maine can offer a solution.

Here in the Pine Tree State, we know how to do parades. We speak parade here. We have parades all the time. We have the various Santa Claus parades, Fourth of July parades, the International Homecoming Festival in Calais, Memorial Day parades, Veterans Day parades, The Big Maine Lobster Parade and two gay pride parades, one in Portland and another in Hallowell. We do parades.

Here’s what 45 and his planners need to do. Enlist lots of big yellow school buses full of substitute teachers, ambulances, firetrucks (folks love firetrucks), bakery trucks with bakers waving flags, a couple of those really big lumber trucks with woodsmen and their families waving flags, and floats from pizza parlors and churches. Maine has more pizza parlors and churches than ticks.

I hope it goes well, but don’t call me. I’m a liberal. I’ll be home streaming Rachel Maddow shows.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

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