Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Don't Let The Parade Pass You By...

Ever since I can remember, I have been a fun-seeker. This being said, I love a good parade – heck…I even love the not-so-good ones. Line up a few cars and a drummer or two and I am thrilled.

I can sniff them out and often will drag my family and friends to see them. You never know what great sights and sounds await you during a parade but all I know is that I am never unhappy during a parade – and I have not known anyone else to be unhappy either.

My favorite parade is, without question, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – the foremost parade event on the planet. It has been a dream of mine to hold the job as Parade Director. My kids know that during the broadcast of the parade, they are to leave Mom alone to clap and cheer along the balloons, floats, marching bands, etc. as they make their way through the streets of New York City in all their commercialized glory.

I had the privilege in 2007 to be able to view this marvel both from street level and from the top of the Empire State Building – a treat that will always remain a treasured memory for me.

But here's the irony…..I cannot stand clowns. Never liked ‘em. Never trusted ‘em. When the clowns walk by, I make sure that I am standing as far away from them as possible. Not that I am certain that they are lovely individuals but I fail to find the charm in these colorful characters with flower pots on their heads and oversized shoes on their feet.

I digress.

On New Year’s Eve Day, my brother’s family, my fella, and myself were all entertained by “The Outback Bowl” parade on the streets of historic downtown Ybor City, outside of Tampa, Florida. It was happenstance that we stumbled upon this parade opportunity. We went to Ybor City to take in its quaintness and to eat some lunch but were rewarded with a bonus opportunity to enjoy this parade celebrating the University of South Carolina Gamecocks and the University of Iowa Hawkeyes . As I am an Iowan, I was able to fully enjoy this experience surrounded by several thousand of my fellow statesmen and Hawkeye fans.

But I don’t know if it was the company, the pleasant Floridian weather, the festive atmosphere or the excitement of the parade that evening, but as I watched the bands and floats and bead-tossing pirates pass me by, I took it as a sign. I was very, very happy.

And then it hits me. Isn’t life, after all, one big parade? We all march to the beat of our own drummers, we are able to watch people pass us by – some are princes and princesses, some are heroes and patriots, and some are even clowns and pirates. If we are lucky, we will be able to catch a few treasures tossed out by each of these people. There is music and dancing and picture-taking and celebrating. And the only way to truly enjoy it is to take it all in and clap and cheer it along.

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