It was what I had expected – and it wasn’t what I had expected. After about 10 years without attending our city’s Gator Bowl Parade, my husband and I found ourselves parked in folding FSU chairs as we anticipated seeing the Grand Marshal.
A few weeks ago, people waited in line to see Santa. Today they lined the streets to see Bobby Bowden – one of the most winning coaches in college football.
A few years ago, our entire family watched the parade and at that point, I was busier keeping track of our sons instead of actually seeing the marchers, musicians and miscellaneous entertainment.
Beginnings and endings. New years tend to bring them.
The corvette bearing Bobby and his wife slowly crept along the route – providing ample time for him as he patiently acknowledged fans – saluting ones, crying ones and ones yelling their appreciation for his many years at Florida State University. His beginning: retirement within days; his ending: a career of football dreams realized and the opportunity to matter in the lives of young men on and off the field.
As the festivities commenced, my husband and I observed and enjoyed. Our beginning: a season of life where it’s mainly the two of us; our ending: events where we are all four together.
“Do you think the boys will make it?” I asked. “There are going to be so many downtown detours.”
He shrugged and said, “They’ll probably catch it at the end of the route.”
Bands played. Cheerleaders cheered. Jugglers juggled.
Some parts interested me more than others. I smiled as participants did their best to stay synchronized. I covered my ears as pirate-fired muskets punctuated the air. I appreciated the “Fire in the Hole” sign one pirate carried. A little warning is always a good thing!
And the parade went on – just like life.
An hour and a half later, we folded up our chairs and headed to the parking garage.
Then my phone rang.
“Where are you?” a voice asked. It belonged to my eldest.
“On our way home,” I responded.
Shortly thereafter my husband and I, our two sons and their two cousins arrived home.
“Really?” I asked. “Where were you?”
Once they explained, I realized we had only been blocks apart. We had arrived an hour ahead of time to snag our curbside seats. They had arrived 20 minutes before the event started, had seen everything we did and even had a better view of Bobby!
So what did I learn amid the fun of a massive celebration? It’s great to share it with someone – whether they’re beside you or down the street.