This blog is devoted to remembrances and essays on general topics, including literature and writing. It has evolved over time, and some older posts on this site might reflect a different perspective and purpose.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Not Everybody Loves a Parade

            As I’m writing this on Fourth of July morning, one of the major holiday parades in our area is going on in Aptos Village, just a half-mile away. Thousands of people are lining the street to watch. I’m not one of them.
            There’s an old saying that everybody loves a parade, but it isn’t true. I must have somehow gotten shortchanged on the parade-appreciation gene because this is one activity I’ve never much cared for. I rarely go to one any more, and when I do, my reaction when it’s over is what I call the Peggy Lee response: Is that all there is?
            Between Fourth of July and Gay Pride, there have been a lot of parades around the country lately, and they’ve been well-attended, festive events. I suppose people are getting something out of them, but whatever it is, I don’t see it.

The Granddaddy of Them All

            I grew up in Southern California, in two towns very close to Pasadena, where the Rose Parade is held every New Year’s day. It’s nationally televised, but when I was very young, we didn’t have a TV, and I pestered my parents to take me.
            So when I was about 7 or 8, they bought tickets at a grandstand set up on Colorado Boulevard, near Vroman’s Bookstore, and we went to see the parade. After about 20 minutes, I was done.
            It was boring. The first couple of floats you saw were kind of interesting, but after that it was just one more moving floral display after another. They all looked alike, and nothing was happening on them — just people sitting on the flowers, waving like robots at the crowd. About the only interesting entry was some past-his-prime movie cowboy doing rope tricks as he rode down the street. Then it was flowers and more flowers. Bring on the football game, please!

Seen One, Seen ‘Em All

            And that was supposed to be one of the greatest parades in the world. I’ve seen other parades in other places since, and there’s not one I recall with any particular fondness. So these days, Fourth of July parade time is pretty much a good time to stay home and do the laundry and clean up my computer desktop.
            It’s funny, because people come from all over the county, and even outside it to see our Aptos Parade. It’s billed as the Shortest Parade in the World, which may have been arguably true when it first started half a century ago. But anyone who wants to can be in it, and that includes a growing number of businesses that are using it for self-promotion. So it has grown exponentially and no longer has even the virtue of brevity.
            Maybe if we ever have grandchildren, I’ll be able to go to this parade with them, see it through their eyes, and be able to appreciate it more. Maybe. But left to myself, I have more exciting things to do than go to a parade today. In fact, I think it’s time to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer.