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rose parade


If no one wanted to go with me, I was still going. It’s a tradition since 1981. Back then I lived in Northwest Portland. The Rose Parade ended a mile away.


I’d start a run at Lincoln high school and take the parade route all the way back toward the start. Once I got to the water trucks I turned for the barn.


This time in 2018 was no different: start at the end and walk toward the beginning. You never know who you’ll run into.


The timing isn’t always perfect. If I was alone I’d blame no one, but since it was a husband-wife day date.


“We’re late,” I said.


“No one is waiting for us,” she said.


“Next year let’s try earlier, call a bunch of people to meet up. Then we’ll be on time,” I said.


“No one wants to keep people waiting,” she said.


The good husband rule is knowing when blaming is the best way to continue a date. I changed the subject, took the smart side of the road.


The first thing we saw was Teacher Of The Year car.


rose parade

Not far behind came an organization in red coats.


The street sign and the band matched like it was planned for a movie.


rose parade

Back in the early 80’s I ran with the idea that I didn’t know anyone in the parade, knew enough people parading around in real life already, that I liked being surrounded by strangers.


I liked the idea having moved from NYC and that anonymity. Then things thawed out.


This year I had company. I didn’t run into anyone on the parade route, but after so many years they all looked the same: Rose Festival family.


rose parade

Some groups had dance troops, some had floats, some had both.


Some were both at the same time.


rose parade

“Let’s put roses in our hair this year,” I said.


“You’ve got enough hair left to hold a rose?” she said.


“I’m not bald.”


“No one said bald. Thinning, but not enough to skip a crown of roses,” she said.


We skipped the roses for rain hats.


rose parade

She didn’t see us, but this is Trudy. She ran a Tigard clown shop. Local and free roaming.


Because of her we thought of learning how to clown and walk the Rose Parade route throwing candy.


Still might. If we walk it one way, we can walk it the other.


rose parade

We stood on Broadway just up from Nordstroms on the west side of the street when the last Rose Parade entry passed by. I don’t know how I know, but I knew.


“Quick, let’s find a side street before the water trucks hose us,” I said.


“What’s the rush. We can’t move in this crowd,” she said.


“Use those LA driving skills you brag about and push in. Find a gap,” I said.


And that’s what she did, nearly disappearing up the packed sidewalk. If I followed her I would have bumped people into the wall or off the curb.


I waited in the herd while the water trucks showed up with the hoses going full blast to clean the streets.
Some people got wet during the parade, some after. I stayed dry the whole time. I’ll stay dry next year, too.
About David Gillaspie
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