Two years ago I went to New York City for Thanksgiving.
After decades of watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television every year, I was finally going to experience it in person.
The weather was overcast, but dry – perfect weather for a parade – and awfully cold – one of those days that I was glad I’d packed my Under Armour.
I wormed my way through the crowd, my drawl giving away that I was from Texas every time I said “ ‘scuse me.” One woman yelled at me and told me I needed to go back where I came from, but most of the people gathered were really nice.
We all shared camera space and moved out of the way for each other’s pictures.
And we took turns identifying the celebrities on the floats whom no one recognized.
It was especially helpful with Gloria Gaynor.
And Cyndi Lauper.
I felt my age when some teenager asked, “who’s she?”
The giant balloons were amazing. Spiderman. Ronald McDonald. Buzz Lightyear. Dora the Explorer. Kermit the Frog.
What fascinated me most were the 20 or 30 people walking underneath those balloons, each holding onto a line tethered to the balloon to keep it in place.
Like puppeteers in reverse.
Then somehow I noticed the buildings on either side of me. I looked closer.
People were glued to every window in the buildings.
Maybe they had lived there for years and this was just an annual holiday tradition.
Or maybe they were watching it for the very first time.
Watching their faces light up when the next balloon rounded the corner, well, that was even better than the Pillsbury Doughboy.
Made me forget that I was standing in the cold.