Oh the memories came flooding back again this morning as I turned on the TV to watch the 2015 Rose Parade. The onlookers were bundled up like Eskimos as the temperature in Southern California were down in the 30's. When I lived there, if it got to the 50's you grabbed your big parka. For the normally spoiled Pasadena locals this morning, temps in the 30's must have been like an arctic deep freeze.
Growing up in the hills of Glassell Park, California just northeast of Las Angeles, we would climb on our bikes (bicycles) and ride over to Pasadena to watch the parade each year. It was cool being at the big corner of Orange Grove and Colorado boulevards where all 6 major Los Angeles TV stations (CBS, NBS, ABC, KTLA, KTTV, and what was channel 13?... KCOP) got their footage to broadcast to the world. This was at the beginning of the parade, so you had to arrive early for the 8AM start. Why the early start? So that it would still be morning on the East Coast of the country.
Even after moving to Pomona, California in 1976, I still made several trips on either New year's Eve or first thing in the morning back out to Pasadena to watch the parade first hand. Some years I would take ladders and lock them to a light pole the night before so that we could wake up in the morning, climb up high, and watch the parade unobstructed. Those memories are vivid in my mind and I long to be at a parade of that caliber first hand again. Having moved to Utah, the local parades here are fun, but they are a great disappointment... Then again, there are probably few annual parades in the world that compare with the Tournament of Roses event.
FLOATS - I must add, even those years when we did not watch the parade in person, we would always go to the park at the end of the route in the days following and see the floats up close and in person. Seeing the detail of the floral designs always inspired me. The amount of volunteer hours was staggering... I never had the chance to be a volunteer and place the flowers, petals, leaves, and seeds, but I have a deep appreciation for the amount of time it takes for each float in the Granddaddy of all parades. So it is with great joy that I watch the event each year... My wife and kids don't really get it, and that is okay. But for me, this New year's Eve event really gets me going and enthused to kick off another new year.
Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah