On New Year's Day once again I watched the Rose Parade. I grew up watching the Rose Parade. When I first began to watch it the only television we had was a 10 inch black and white hand-me-down from my great-grandfather. When they got a new television, we bought their old one. In those days televisions changed as fast as computers change today. Since that was our first television we were thrilled just to be able to watch it.
The television I watched the parade on this year could not be considered the latest and greatest. That kind of stuff does not matter to me. Now what I enjoy the most is seeing the materials used on the floats. The flowers, foliage, seeds and bark create colors that are needed to make the floats as much like nature as possible. I am so glad they explain the materials.
That got me thinking about all the flower growers that raise and sell materials to businesses and communities for building the floats. That has to be a lucrative business. I believe that they import flowers from all over the world. The growers must have a fair amount of stress as parade time draws near. A frost could ruin their profit for the year.
People do not think about the chances that farmers take. Every season holds the potential for disaster. Farmers depend on Mother Nature to send just the right amount of rain, sunshine, and growing season. Anything less than perfect, bites into the profit margin which for most farmers is minimal. I have said it before, but I'll say it again. "People farm more for the way of life it offers than for the money it provides.
During that heavy snow my son lost his hoop building. The wooden supports splintered like toothpicks. He was not happy when he found out that his insurance would not cover it, either!
If I could have one wish I would like to be a volunteer to build a float for the Rose Parade. I know a lady who did that and she had wonderful stories. Although my allergies would probably flare, it would be worth it. As I watched the volunteers fastening on the blossoms and other live materials it looked like so much fun. To say that you worked on "that section" of the float would be an honor.
I've never been to Pasadena, CA, but I have seen the streets of the city year after year as the flower/plant laden floats make their way along the five mile parade route. I know that sharp corner that all units have to negotiate. I've seen the people seated on the bleachers watching the floats, the bands, and the equestrian units. I always loved watching the horses. Some of the riders could do the most extraordinary things.
Once I moved to the farm I began to think about what they did with the horse manure. They certainly could not leave it on the street for the floats to drive through or the marching units to march through. It is funny, but once you have that country spirit you notice things that previously went unnoted. Around here the horses are always last in the parade for just that reason. I watched carefully this year to try to see if there were people marching with wheelbarrows, but I saw nothing.
Since the parade did not end until 1 p.m. I fixed my lunch and carried it into the living room so that I could see all of the parade. When I was growing up that was a tradition. It was a special privilege to eat lunch in the living room. We did not usually eat there in those days. Grandma insisted that we eat by the kitchen table. Once a year I was allowed to eat in front of the television. Grandma set the food out in the kitchen, then, we filled our plates and took them into the living room during the Rose Parade.
When I look around my living room I think of home. I have Grandma's chair, her lamp table, and Grandpa's rocker. That is the same furniture that I remember in Grandma's living room during the time we ate in front of the television.
My home never functioned like Grandma's. My husband always wanted to watch the news so if it was time for the news he carried his plate into the living room and sat down by the television. We had no special time to eat. We ate whenever he got home from the barn. My children learned to do the same thing. Another generation has it even easier. The grandchildren adapt the box that sets in front of the couch as their table. Oh, they always ask, but they do not expect me to say no.
The only time I object is if my dog is in because she is terrible with food. Any food that is left unattended is fair game. More than one piece of sandwich has found its way into her mouth. It used to be that the grandchildren forgot about her and lost cookies and crackers as they roamed about. Any scrap that happens to fall on the floor is gone before it can be retrieved. It does not seem to matter how much I yell at her either. She does not learn to stay away from the food. Maybe I have to put up one of those in home units that is controlled by her collar. She very much respects that fence in the yard. In fact, she respects it so much that when my son's watch makes a similar noise she runs under the table.
Now, I'll just watch the rest of the college football games. So far most of them have been a blow out so they were not much fun to watch.
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org