I Love a Parade?

Pasadena, California

Tuning into the Tournament of Roses Parade today? If you do, you’ll join an estimated crowd of 700,000 people who line the streets of Pasadena, California, plus millions more from across the United States and around the world watching the 123rd annual event online and by television.

Who doesn’t love a parade?

When I was a girl in the land of lake-effect snow, also known as northern Indiana, I curled up in flannel pajamas and thick socks to watch New Year’s most magnificent tradition, the Rose Parade. Float after exuberantly floral float marched across the screen of our clunky Sony television. Growing up, I dreamed of spending January 1 in Southern California watching the parade with hundreds of thousands of others who line Colorado Boulevard. I wanted to be part of the dazzling spectacle.

When I was in my mid-30s, I moved to Pasadena. For two years, I lived less than two blocks from the parade route. This meant that I woke up on New Year’s Day to the sound of television helicopters hovering overhead. “Little Beirut,” I muttered. I listened for the B-2 stealth bomber passing by to signal the start of the parade, then ate breakfast and leisurely walked the short distance to Colorado Boulevard. I didn’t miss a thing. There were plenty of places to stand that offered good views. It didn’t get any more convenient.

Seemingly, it was a dream come true for this Hoosier girl, especially in 2001 when Purdue played in the Rose Bowl. As an alum, it seemed imperative to sing “Hail, Purdue!” when the marching band went by on “my” Main Street, and cheering for the Boiler football team when their float passed. That might have been the only time I watch most of the parade in person.

Here’s reality: Not only don’t I love a parade, I don’t like them. At least not in person. Especially when it’s the “grandaddy of ’em all.” When you have one of the premier parades rolling through your neighborhood, and you take cover at home or at a favorite restaurant to watch the show, evidence suggests different affections. Give me a nice-sized television, a handful of good friends, and emcees extraordinaire Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards, and I’ve got the perfect Rose Parade.

There are many aspects of life that I have looked at from a distance and thought I would be over the moon if they were a part of my life. When I catch these thoughts marching through my brain like on of parade bands, the only thing to do is laugh. Remember the Rose Parade, Kim. Remember the Rose Parade.

Yes, I will tune in to Tournament of Roses Parade this morning with Timothy and Nelson, the resident felines. Instead of jostling for a curbside perch, I’ll sit, coffee in hand, on a comfortable chair. Ah! I love a parade! 

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