Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

Floating

December 6, 2017

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To be a judge in a very local parade, you’ve got to be in the spirit, in the moment, or both. Being a little tipsy probably helps too.

Well, Shop Boy was none of these as he stepped up onto a platform to take his place with Mary and pal Kimry of Milagro, a shop on 36th Street, for the 45th-annual Mayor’s Christmas Parade. Every year, the bands, floats, politicians, steppers and Shriners (and balloons!) march, roll, or fly past Kimry’s—gotta say it—really cool shop of Mexico and South America and around-the-world folk art-themed and sourced jewelry, clothing, art and knickknacks. Kimry’s a gifted jewelry maker herself, an artist, and … it’s all so well curated. She’s an appropriate parade judge.

blog_milagroNot necessarily the case for all of us who would rule from on high while the parade started, stopped, and started again as it inchwormed through the heart of Baltimore’s Hampden, a few blocks from Typecast Press headquarters. OK, there was just one judge who was way out of his comfort zone. Old Shop Boy doesn’t necessarily care for calling attention to himself. Heck, I’ll tell stories on myself all day long and we can laugh or cry together. But my first reaction was to recoil when Kimry raised the notion of me and Mary filling in when a regular parade judge had a conflict. Up on a stage? At the big-finish line of the parade route?

Mary? Yes, of course. Shop Boy was all for it.

“I’m not doing it without you,” she told me.

You know how you can tell if you miss out on something you’ll always regret it? And then you miss out anyway? And you regret it? Dang it. Shop Boy wasn’t going to let Mary experience that on this. She’s a parade freak. I cannot imagine what the neighbors think as she squeals, shouts and stomps her way through the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on TV every year, hollering her snarky commentary or childlike thrills downstairs to the kitchen as Shop Boy makes coffee or breakfast.

I was in.

Not as in “in the spirit.” Just in. Grudgingly, grittingly, grindingly in. And when we mutually agreed to skip carrying a boozy flask along, well …

And perhaps it was only those lowered expectations. Maybe it was just the sunshine and 55-degree day. Maybe it was having a very funny friend like Kimry along. Perhaps it was the magic that was written all over Mary’s face. But Shop Boy’s cold heart was no match. The whole stinking event was charming as heck, rough around the edges as it was.

Shop Boy was specifically tasked with helping present trophies to cheerleaders/dancers and equestrian events. Did I mention the Lone Ranger was there? (He didn’t win, but cool!) And oh my, Baltimore and Hampden’s (and my fellow lily white judges’) embrace of some of the more diverse, gender-fluid marching band/dance troops was a heart-warming respite from a truly awful parade of days in an America we love and lose sleep over.

But that wasn’t what I was thinking “in the moment,” a place where Shop Boy hadn’t been in a while. And that moment, the Christmas Parade and its aftermath, was unquestionably good. We stuck around to drink a little wine, eat a little pizza and wander down to 34th Street and the Milagro/Miracle.

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Mary poked Shop Boy in the ribs. “See?”

Grudgingly, grittingly, grindingly, Shop Boy did see.

Both that and the judging gig might be one-offs. Or maybe we’ve given an old grinch some holiday bedrock to re-build on. I do try.

Time will tell. Meanwhile, I suppose it’s a good reminder that sometimes the best gift is just saying yes when “no” is where you live.

Move out of there if you can.

Shop Boy has stuck one tentative foot out the door. March with me.