When everything comes up roses

I began my New Year’s Day for 2019 in the same basic way I begin most new-year holidays, by watching the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.

It’s a final chapter for each holiday season. It closes things out in the same fashion that the Macy’s Parade launches hundreds of holiday traditions.

Both parades are worth allocating time during their respective holidays to see a broadcast from start to finish. Both rank high on my Bucket List for traveling to see them in person.

Macy’s is famous for its giant cartoon character balloons that usually manage to stay aloft in the concrete canyons of Lower Manhattan. It’s world class in terms of how it showcases many of the best known music performers and dancing groups.

The Tournament of Roses always fulfills its promise at the start of a New Year. Floats constructed by Los Angeles area neighborhoods, businesses and organizations represent many hours of volunteer labor that involve step by step approaches with flowers and seeds (all natural ingredients).

Some of the best marching bands in the world perform, and many highly regarded equestrian groups follow the parade route in perfect step.

My family has had some personal connections to the Rose Parade since two of my dad’s cousins have spent most of their lives in southern California. One was a career employee at Hughes Aircraft. The other became a biology professor at Cal State Los Angeles.

Our greatest connection of all is through one of my sister’s neighbors in a dorm hall at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Even after my sister transferred to SMSU, her friend from Augustana spent Thanksgiving with our family since the only time to go to California during the school year was over Christmas.

Her parents were very active in Tournament of Roses float building through their Los Angeles suburb of La Canada-Flintridge, located in the foothills of mountain ranges north of the city.

Years later, we still keep an eye out for the La Canada-Flintridge float. It doesn’t always make the broadcast, but many times it does.

Besides the great parade attractions, the television audience is treated to views of the hills around Pasadena on the opposite side of the Norton Simon Museum, a main point on the parade route. We can also for a momentary time in the middle of winter look forward to months when we also will have warm temperatures.

It’s definitely not a bad way to begin a New Year. With luck it’s always possible to enjoy a great football game (the Rose Bowl) later in the afternoon. If the game gets out of hand, which has happened before and will undoubtedly happen sometimes in the future, the Rose Parade can be remembered as a tradition that never disappoints.

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