Posts Tagged ‘printing’

Floating

December 6, 2017

blog_hampden

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 agree 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.

blog2_bottom

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.

All Downhill From There

January 6, 2015
deer He of the nose knows not to mess with Monument Hill.

He of the nose knows not to mess with Monument Hill.

Why can’t we learn?

Most days of the year, Denver is about a 75-minute drive (at 75 mph!) from Colorado Springs on Interstate 25. In between the two cities, every day of the year, is Monument Hill. I’m guessing the pass was so named because a lot of monuments tend to be made of white marble, so think “white knuckles” and “white-outs.” On the wrong days, you need to get over the Monument Hill pass before both set in.

This, then, was the wrong day to make a snowy, last-minute dash for tacos just so we could get one more pile of Mexican food into our rounding post-holiday bellies before heading off to the Denver airport. “Denver-ish airport” is far more apt. When we lived in downtown Denver in the 1990s, Stapleton Airport was a 15-minute run. Stapleton was the best. The modern Denver International Airport is really not so very good at all in comparison. And it is a long, long way from downtown Denver. Very bad idea, but it did make some people a lot of money and of course that’s awesome.

As were the tacos, but c’mon, folks. Let’s go already.

Mary’s parents live in Colorado Springs, which is actually at a higher elevation than the Mile High City. It’s a strip-mally kind of existence, just vast expanses of big-box stores and gas stations and silly housing developments surrounded by the most breath-taking scenery. There’s a slightly religious feeling, for instance, to looking out the front door of Trader Joe’s at … the glory that is Pikes Peak. Honestly, it’s like going about your miserable little bingeing, burping, barfing life in a postcard. And soon you begin to take the surroundings for granted. Humans (yuck).

Anyway, Mary grabbed her laptop and checked the Monument Hill road cam: Clear as a summer day. She checked the Denver weather: Sunny, with light winds. So the snow falling like mad in the Springs was merely a lovely annoyance. The TV weatherman described it as a southern storm, with the Springs its northernmost edge. Once we’d reached the city limits, headed north to Denver, it would trouble us no more.

All those trips back and forth from Colorado Springs to Denver in the 1990s and on a bunch of visits ever since … and we believed this?

So, two hours of driving an unfamiliar car in the snowy ruts made by the vehicle just ahead, afraid to blink your eyes lest you end up plunging, doomed, into the lovely valley below, should not have come as a complete surprise.

At least we had all those tacos inside us to add a little weight to the vehicle.