Everything’s Coming Up Roses
When you grow up and live in the Pasadena area for most of your 60 years, there is no way to escape going to the Rose Parade. Believe me, I know! I’m not sure exactly how many Rose Parades I’ve been to in my life, but I am certain the number now exceeds 25. I am not a “parade guy,” but I must admit the Rose Parade “wows” me just about every year I have attended it. I also figure our property values don’t drop as much as the national average since millions of viewers who are hunkered down in snowstorms across the nation witness our New Year’s weather out here and move. This year the weather was once again perfect!
We had not planned on going to the Rose Parade this year, but our friends Burt and Paula invited us to go with them along with Paula’s sister Jane, and although sleeping in sounded good, there’s no way to turn down a free ticket to the Rose Parade. As an added bonus, they had great seats at the beginning of the parade, so Tracy and I thankfully accepted their generous offer.
This year (2012) the parade was on January 2, since the 1st was on a Sunday, and Pasadena has the “Never On Sunday” rule for the parade and the game. This policy was instituted in order “to avoid frightening horses tethered outside local churches and thus interfering with worship services.” The joke around here is that Rose Parade and Rose Bowl officials have a pact with God. If they don’t have the parade and game on Sunday, God will provide great weather every year. For the most part, the weather on New Years Day (or the 2nd) has always been fantastic. I only remember a couple of days that it ever rained on the parade.
As for this year, well, it was another perfect day in paradise with temperatures in the 60s by midway through the parade and reaching the 80s by game time. The mountains looked like you could reach out and touch them.
To get to our secret, free parking spot near the start of the parade (I could tell you where it is, but I would have to kill you), we must arrive before 6 a.m. (the parade starts promptly at 8). After getting through security, we enjoy walking down Orange Grove and looking at the floats close up.
Not only do you get the great fragrance of the floats as you walk close by, but the walking keeps you warm in those early morning hours, although this year it was incredibly mild even at that early hour.
We wished both Oregon and Wisconsin fans good luck in the game (which I have been to more than the parade in my lifetime), although truth be told, I wanted Oregon to whip their butts.
After seeing a couple of giant dinosaurs, it was time to get in our seats, and fortunately I bypassed the movable hot dog stand. As a Rose Parade veteran, you want to steer clear of the Porta Potties if at all possible, and consuming an early morning dog could have been a fatal mistake.
During the first few minutes of the parade comes one of the fantastic highlights of the day. The B-2 Stealth bomber flies overhead, and on this morning “overhead” really meant right over our heads. I don’t know why I feel liking singing the Batman theme every time I see it.
The Grand Marshall of the 2012 parade was J.R. Martinez, a former Army infantryman who was injured in Iraq and suffered burns over 40% of his body. You might also know him as the fan favorite from Dancing With The Stars, a show I thankfully have never seen.
The Wells Fargo stagecoaches came by early in the parade, and I half-expected an Occupy The Rose Parade protestor to jump out, but this is Southern California, so our protesters are pretty laid back and were probably grabbing a latte.
Then the Rose Parade Queen came by riding on a Macy’s float. I wondered if the Queen and her court got 40% off plus an extra ten percent with a Macy’s card for their dresses. I think sometimes Macy’s actually pays me to buy their items.
You know you’re in Southern California when you see a cool float that had pooches surfing. I had left the television on at home, so I was hoping that my dogs were looking so they could learn how to “Hang 20.”
Every year I say I’m not going to go back to the parade (too early, too cold, etc.), which means there’s always about a 50-50 chance that I will change my mind before New Years Day rolls around.