I love a parade! It’s energizing--filled with up-tempo music, color and pageantry. The most impressive one, in my opinion, is the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. With its magnificent floats covered in plant material and flowers (most floats have more flowers on them than an average florist uses in five years) it truly is the granddaddy of ‘em all.
This year’s hopeful theme was Just Imagine. I interpreted it as the creative spirit triumphing over negativity and obstacles. I think these imaginative floats succeeded in bringing “impossible” ideas to life. Who would believe a float could be built for six surfing dogs including, Tillman, the superstar surfing/snowboarding bulldog?
But it was. The “Surf’s Up” float was the longest and heaviest float ever entered in the Rose Parade. It contained 6,600 gallons of water and used a wave machine to generate a wave a minute for dogs to hang ten on. At one point, as this float started to make a sharp right turn from one major road to another, announcers enthusiastically speculated it might not make it. But of course it did. (To watch video of the surfing dogs go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JLva0y3ppg )
Another favorite, especially among the elementary school set, was the prehistoric dinosaur float. The head of the green dinosaur was ingeniously decorated using Brussels sprouts. Kids take note: Apparently there are other, better uses for this vile tasting vegetable.
While I wasn’t present at this year’s Rose Parade and had to watch it on television, I’ve attended three times in the past. The first time I was seated comfortably in the grandstand. The next two times I was squashed together with humanity on the cold, hard sidewalk. However, the floats seemed more impressive looking up at them from my position on the sidewalk. They loomed overhead creating gigantic shadows on the ground making me feel very small.
Yet, when I viewed the floats close-up at the post parade display area, it was easy to see that they were impressive not only because of their large size, but because of the meticulous attention to detail. Each rose had its own vial filled with water to keep it fresh and volunteers had painstakingly attached tiny seeds and flowers to create beautiful floral mosaics.
These creative, sometimes zany, ideas only succeed because of the planning and hard work that goes into making vision a reality. I imagine designers and engineers created many plans then added, subtracted and made changes until each float was exactly right. Sometimes success is due to quick thinking and prior planning--as in the case of the malfunctioning float that needed a tow.
I smiled when I saw a float with pigs flying planes. “When pigs fly” is a phrase implying that something is so impossible that it would never happen. But by believing in ourselves, hard work and pressing on through obstacles, our creative visions can triumph. Yes, in 2012 dogs surf and pigs do fly!
Photographs courtesy of Christopher Martin.
WWK Blogger Paula Gail Benson has two short stories running in Kings River Life Magazine this weekend, "Pelican Spring" and "The Mama Factor." Both are Mother's Day short stories. You can read them by going to: http://kingsriverlife.com/category/kings-river-reviewers/terrific-tales/
Linda Rodriguez is a finalist in two categories for the International Latino Book Awards (given out at BEA the end of May)--one for Every Last Secret and one for editing Woven Voices: 3 Generations of Puertorriquena Poets Look at Their American Lives (with Gloria Vando, Anika Paris, and Anita Velez-Mitchell). Congratulations, Linda!
The second SinC Guppy anthology, Fish Nets, has been released by Wildside Press. WWK authors, Gloria Alden, Warren Bull, Kara Cerise and E. B. Davis have short stories in this volume, which can be bought at Wildside Press, the usual retailers and will be available at the Malice Domestic Conference. Look for "the story behind the stories" on May 1 here!
Upcoming Salad Bowl Saturdays include authors Sasscer Hill on 5/18 and Carolyn Mulford on 5/25. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, send a message to Jim Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.