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November 22, 1990|S.B.

Well, we said, we guessed we'd pass on the Hollywood Christmas Parade this year.

Our niece, Deedee, who at 6 is about niece-high to a grasshopper, couldn't believe this heresy. The teacher has already started reading about Scrooge, so she knows the vocabulary. More or less. "Bah bah black sheep!" she accused us.

"You went last year and the year before," we reminded her.

"I know." She pitched the idea. And as usual, a curve emerged. "The Exterminator is gonna lead it!"

"Arnold Schwarzenegger is the grand marshal," her mother translated.

"And there'll be horses, stars, Santa Claus and much more!"

Maybe she'd heard a promo on the radio. Maybe the kid is headed for a career as a press agent. Maybe she'll arrange a gig for us in 20 years to dodder into the sunset for a whiskey commercial.

"What stars?" we wanted to know.

"Real ones!"

She did not mean those twinkly little miracles of the night sky. She meant glossy good-lookers with glassily glamorous smiles who perch in clean, highly waxed classic convertibles, slowly rolling down the boulevard. Real stars, without batting an eyelash, instantly divide the wheat from the chaff in a parade crowd, the In from the Out, the Young from the Old.

The In and Young squeal and surge toward the star and car. The Old and Out look at each other and ask, "Who's that?"

"Cowboys!" Deedee said. "On real horses. With silver saddles and horsenesses."

"Harnesses," we said. "Harnesses. And a real Santa Claus, right, Deedee?"

"Of course! He's gonna float!"

Just then her brother, Billy, 8, breezed through, shouting, "Santa in a swimsuit!" holding the air a foot in front of his stomach and going "ho-ho-ho" all the way out to the kitchen.

Her mother explained what a float was, remember last year? And Deedee said she knew that, and described Santa's red suit in painful detail to make sure nobody thought SHE thought he would wear a swimsuit. Then, singing "Ho-ho, ho-ho, it's off to work we go," she skipped out to the kitchen for a little pre-dinner pummel with her brother.

The parade, sponsored by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, starts at 6 p.m. Sunday at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Van Ness Avenue, travels west to Highland Avenue, north to Hollywood Boulevard and east to Bronson Avenue.

"It'll also be on Channel 5 live," Deedee's mother said, but we'd already made up our minds to go live ourselves. Just so we can watch Deedee and Billy watch it.

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