PARADE AND PUNISHMENT

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A REPEAT OF THE ST. PATRICK’S DAY POST THAT REMAINED UP FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS, THEN SOMEHOW DISAPPEARED. TECHNOLOGY IS NOT MY FRIEND.

Let’s say I did it for science. Why else would someone over the age of 25 attend a St. Patrick’s Day parade they have managed to avoid for the last 20 years? Dallas has hosted this parade since 1979 and it has grown to over 100,000 party-goers.

I attended once before. In the 90s. After being pushed and shoved, having beers sloshed all over me by strangers (and myself), I decided to forego the event indefinitely. Even though we’ve been living within a mile of the parade route for nearly three years, I’ve had no desire to participate.

However, Friday, Robert informed me we were attending this year with his friends.

What?

We’re going. It’ll be fun.

Harrumph.

So, Saturday morning I awoke at 8:00 AM. Unheard of for me on a weekend. By 9:00, our guests were here wearing bright green shirts, beads, and headbands with shamrocks on springy antennas. I looked positively funereal in my camouflage pants, gray t-shirt and sunglasses. My spirits lifted a bit when I was handed a tumbler of champagne and orange juice. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all.

I slurped my vitamin C infused alcohol from my red plastic Solo cup with a guilty eye toward the clock, 9:30. We piled in the car and drive .07 miles to a parking place, where the ever-prepared and much more awake friends offered us beads, a green bowler hat and shamrock stickers to apply to our persons. I passed. Robert looked splendid in his bowler. The threat of tequila shots avoided, we made our way to the street and perched against the barricades lining the route.

The parade began at 11:00. At ten ’til, I was on my second banana, pineapple, vodka something. People-watching was entertaining. Two college aged boys were holding up signs as they moved through the crowd. “Free hugs!” Genius. Women were lining up. Some guys, too.

hug

I had to stop watching because I could sense people moving in on my space. Widening my stance and extending my elbows, I returned to claiming my territory, lest some interloper edge me out of my front row view. Nothing worse than being tipsy at 11:00 in the morning and losing your spot to some munchkin who manages to sneak in under your guard.

As we listened to Snoop Dog’s sound check, “Check, check, check, check,” ad infinitum, I wondered for the hundredth time when I could go home and take a nap.

Wait! The parade! Down the street, we saw the approach of police lights and could hear the faint wail of bagpipes. A picture’s worth a ridiculous amount of words, so here you go. This way, you can say you saw the parade without having to attend.

bagpipe

skaters

bike bar

Float occupants tossed beads to the greedy, screaming crowd. They really need to practice this, as beads either skidded across the asphalt, the strand breaking before coming to a rest about three feet from us on the wrong side of the barricade, or they whipped past us at a velocity that caused me to duck and cover. Every now and then, I’d shoot an arm straight into the air mid-duck and find my hand gripping one of the coveted necklaces. Robert and his pal were a bit more aggressive, plucking them from the air and placing them over our heads until we were weighted down. I kept repeating, “Tim Gunn would not approve. Fashion dictates you take a look in the mirror and remove one accessory item.”

I was ignored.

float 2

float 1

mustache

We were home by 12:30, and I was sound asleep by 7:30 PM, at which time my husband shoved me toward the bedroom. I awoke at 1:00 AM. WIDE AWAKE.

There you have St. Patrick’s Day in Dallas. I am the proud owner of a dozen strands of beads, if not more, a cookie from the Hare Krishna float (don’t ask), and three koozies.

Give me another 20 years and I may be up for this again.

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