The Rose Bowl Parade reminds me of the best of my time in Pasadena. The bleachers along California Ave. get set up right after Thanksgiving, reservations for New Year's Eve dinner (two seatings, fixed menu) at Monahan's Irish Pub on Lake started rolling in around Halloween. Parade-goers begin camping out on Colorado and adjacent streets December 20th. Exiting after my first New Year's Eve waitress shift about 3 a.m. found me immediately jumping left and right to avoid stepping on the limps and torsos of the bodies in sleeping bags packed together on the sidewalk directly outside the front door. Wandering down toward to Colorado to take a look, the street was teeming with people waiting out the next three hours partying, drinking, yelling, laughing, in and out of the various store fronts that all had kept their doors open to sell coffee and donuts along with their usual mom and pop stock in trade. Sidewalks, street pavement and lampposts were fair game for partiers. Cops on foot and horseback. It was hard to believe many couples and entire families were sleeping through the action. And there was a stabbing, but just one.
The next day, or rather five hours later, I rolled out of bed to straggle to the Carl's Jr. on Colorado a block away, ordering a breakfast pastry and coffee to consume seated on the sidewalk in relative solitude as I was two miles from the start of the parade and the crowds on the bleachers at the Norton Simon Museum. Grand Marshall James Stewart was rolling by in the Official Grand Marshall Vehicle. Several hours later the last of the bands were marching through, although several of the members passed out mid-step. I moved onto the park where the floats were on display, and at 12:30 or so they were admirable in the laborious work involved in pasting every daisy petal and iris stamen onto cardboard but the floats were fading fast. As in drooping and falling apart, the memory of a two-day marathon of sleepless volunteers pasting right up until netowrk time fading with the daisies.
The Rose Bowl Parade this year brought back fond memories (albeit via HDTV in Southern Colorado) and delivered some comedy gold. First off was the TelePrompter-driven narrative delivered by Nancy Somebody and everyone's favorite yo-yo dieter weatherman, Al Roker. He cheerfully announced the Ohio State School for the Blind Marching Band, each unsighted band member marching along accompanied by a sighted person at their elbow, insuring the tuba player marched in a straight line and avoided any horse poop form the previous six-member Blackfoot Horse Brigade of Greater Bozeman.
Next, Nancy What's-her-name read the TelePrompter script of the untimely and sad death of a dead person in somber, sympathetic tones as an official car motored past containing the waving and smiling family of the dead person whose death allowed the family access to a Tournament of Roses Rose Bowl Parade official car.