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Laurie Niles

A Rose Parade experience

January 2, 2008 at 8:28 AM

Once again I offer you scenes from the the Rose Parade – not the part at the beginning, by the T.V. cameras, where the floats emerge straight from the package, the band members have an exuberant glow in their faces and a spring in their heels...

No, I offer the unique view that we scrappy folks at the tail end of the five-and-a-half-mile route see. It's more of an experience than a show, and since I'm on the whole “create an experience” kick, here goes.

We emerged from World Headquarters (okay, our condo) in Pasadena around 8 p.m., hoping to catch the B-2 Stealth Bomber, which in previous years has sent our spoons flying as we ate cereal before the parade, while our neighbor Rosie points from her south-facing balcony, “Mother of G... that F....” Okay you know I won't tell you what Rosie says, but it's an expression of awe, fear, amazement, as this black triangle of death sweeps low over our homes. But this year it never came, and it was a source of disappointment among the natives, particularly Paul, here, with his new camera, who waited for the same thing on the roof of his house.

We came back inside, watched the first few floats on T.V., then knew it was time to get going. The beginning of the parade would arrive at our designated area in about an hour and a half. As I left the house, I noticed a message from my sister in Cincinnati, who was watching the parade on T.V.

“We thought we'd try to see you on T.V., where are you?” I chuckled. No, you won't be seeing us on T.V.!

As we walked north, through the middle of the cleared street, lined with people who'd been out there all nights with their sleeping bags, stoves, people who were throwing footballs and shooting silly string, we found ourselves walking past a little band of happy people in orange, chanting, waving their arms, banging a drum.

We found our friends, who had three rows of lawn chairs that various other friends had brought by over the last few days. They've made an art of saving this little patch of sidewalk every year for the parade for some 25 years. The first year she invited me she said, “I'll never invite you again, you're just invited every year, we're always at the same place!” It's becoming an annual pilgrimage.

“We brought a band of Hare Krishnas, they'll be by in just a few minutes here,” I announced as we greeted our friends.

My son produced a $5 bill he had apparently been saving, and he proceeded to spend it (with some parental supplementation) on silly string, cotton candy and noisemakers. The kids ran circles around us, squirting each other's hair, clothing, even faces with silly string.

At last came the Rose cops on motorcycles, circling and doing little tricks, showing us it was time to sit down. I was shooting into the sun for much of this, but here is a bunch of pictures:

Happy New Year!

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on January 2, 2008 at 1:33 PM
That sounds like quite a ritual. Your pictures are great. Do you have sunshine and blue skies all the time? For the last few weeks, the sky over here has been a dull gray, raining or about to rain all the time. Thanks for the photos.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on January 2, 2008 at 3:19 PM
Why was the Chinese float controversial? It was built by slave labor? :) Or just by virtue of it being Chinese...?
From Ray Randall
Posted on January 2, 2008 at 4:34 PM
Good story and great pictures. Thank you.
It's 8 degrees here this morning, we're jealous.
From Albert Justice
Posted on January 2, 2008 at 5:24 PM
Great photos... You do, for sure--really great work. Thanks Laurie.
From E. Smith
Posted on January 2, 2008 at 7:06 PM
Wow, and I thought the Mummers were exciting. You live in a beautiful place, Laurie. Great photos.
From Jasmine Reese
Posted on January 3, 2008 at 4:23 AM
The weather announced just now that it will -10 tomorrow. I miss Cali.
From Mendy Smith
Posted on January 3, 2008 at 4:34 AM
Watching the B2 fly over is an amazing experience. I remember seeing it on its maiden voyage at EAFB many many years ago. Even more amazing is how it can stay up in the air.

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