I was ready for the roughest of circumstances. The news announced New Year’s Day 2015 would be the coldest in decades, plus I had a seat in the stands, which logic told me would not be a plush one. But I was a woman with a purpose, because my daughter (Chelsea) would be part of the Rose Parade marching with the PCC Tournament of Roses Honor Band. Not only was I beaming with pride but determined to take the best possible pictures of my girl in action.
It was the culmination of one month of work for our little family. In prior years, watching the Parade from the comfort of my sofa, I never thought of the preparations that must take place for such a popular event to happen. Now I know that it takes 8-hour day Sundays first, and then, once school breaks, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. rehearsals that take the young musicians to the Santa Anita Track and Dodger Stadium, where they can build up resistance for marching the 5.5 miles that is the length of the Rose Parade. I had never seen more clearly that a person can be tired physically and yet glow mentally – my daughter would be beat after those practices, but she was thrilled.
On New Year’s Day Chelsea was expected at 4 a.m., and since I didn’t want to be back and forth in such a difficult traffic day in Pasadena, I brought along blankets and pillows to finish up my night in the car. In my defense, I considered staying at a hotel on Parade route, but most of them were gone by the time I inquired, and the others were $400/night and above. Sleeping in the car was free. I don’t regret my choice.
At 7:30 a.m. I got out of the car in a 30 degree chill. It was not bad under my jacket, gloves, scarf, hat, and so forth… but it had probably been a rough night for the thousands that had slept on the street saving their spots. I found at least 30 people in line at Starbucks, and the coffee mogul will have to forgive me but I’m not that loyal. I went to Subway instead and in five minutes, with only five people ahead of me, I had a sandwich and a coffee just the same.
By 8 a.m. I was on the stands. They are just benches, but they’re really not that bad. Yes, first off the knees of the guy behind me threaten to pierce through my back, but after I shamelessly used him as back support he re-arranged himself into his own space. The Parade took another hour to get to our location at PCC, but once it started it was great!
I had to laugh out loud at The Bachelor waving like a Miss USA from the top of his float. (We Americans are so silly!) And “The Love Boat” crew waving from another one took me back to my teenage years when my siblings and I could not wait for my folks to go on their weekly date to run to the TV to watch the show without fear of my dad giving us a lecture (The things that happened on that boat were “so inappropriate”). But when the PCC Honor Band marched by in their red and white uniforms, with my girl on the second row working hard on that trombone, my heart almost burst! And then I thought of the parents of those children from Japan, Mexico, and other parts of the US who were also marching the Parade. We must have made an emotional bunch!
By 11 a.m. the Parade was over. By 11:30 a.m. Colorado Blvd. was empty in comparison. This was the best Rose Parade for me in the 27 years that I’ve lived in Southern California. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!
Click here to see 111 pictures I took during the Parade.