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Picture from AZ

My sister AnniPotts has this list she maintains that she calls Family Firsts, which lists the first member of our immediate family to do various noteworthy things.  For example, First Person To Live In Another Country: Big Brother, First Person To Get Arrested: me, First Person To Visit All 50 States: The Duchess, etc.  It’s quite a list, and a long one, given that you’ve got thirteen people who all like doing unusual and interesting things contributing to it.  It gets to be something of a challenge to find something a member of our family hasn’t done.  However, yesterday in Columbus I do believe that I racked up another Family First: First Person To Ride On A Parade Float.  And you know what?  It was pretty awesome.

Picture by TZ

The day went basically like this: Bishop picked me up at 6:40am, and we met Fitz in the parking lot of the Huber Heights Krogers at 7am.  Sugar Ray was supposed to meet us there too, but he had overslept, so he said that he would meet us at Mass.  Bishop, Fitz and I headed off into the slowly lightening sky to meet Flo at the Park & Ride by the S. Vienna exit on  I-70.  Then we all traveled the rest of the way into Columbus.  There we parked the float, and found where people were gathering for the procession to Mass.  This wasn’t hard – they had people playing bagpipes.  Also, there were lots of men in kilts, which was a sight to make a girl grin, even if she’s hasn’t had nearly enough of either sleep or coffee.  We were wondering where we were supposed to be in the procession, when we were told by the organizer that we weren’t supposed to be in the procession at all, only the parade.  So we headed off to get seats our seats for Mass instead.  This turned out to be a wise move, since Mass was standing room only by the time everyone packed in.

While we were waiting for the procession (bagpipes, various notables including the Mayor of Columbus, plus Archbishop Campbell) to arrive, I had lots of time to have a total knitter geek-out over all the fabulous Aran sweaters everywhere around me.  I hardly knew where to look because everywhere my eyes went I saw another bravura demonstration of cable-knitting pwnage.  I was so overcome with a combination of admiration, jealously, and an overwhelming impulse of “I want to do that too!” that I hardly knew what to do with myself.  As it was, both Fitz (on my right) and Flo (on my left) got treated to short impromptu lectures on Aran sweaters, the functionality of (those cables aren’t just pretty, they’re useful), and the superiority of wool (warm even when wet! naturally antibacterial!).  It was, shall we say, a little special.  Thankfully both Fitz and Flo are kinda wonderful people, and patiently listened to my slightly-hyper burblings that pretty much only stopped when the bagpipes actually entered the church and drowned me out.  Even then I was very distracted all during Mass deciding which features I liked best (cardigan, set-in shoulders, pockets – pretty much like the one the nice looking dark-haired man sitting all the way to the right about a fourth of the way back was wearing).  Sometimes, my friends, being in the presence of exquisite hand-knits is a trial!

After Mass we all piled into Fitz’s truck, and headed to the parade staging area.  We ended up almost dead last in the parade, just after the Dublin Irish Festival float, and before some really lovely classic cars.  For a while we were all hard at work getting the float set up.  Thankfully, Flo’s dad, brother, and two family friends just happened along and pitched in.  Soon we had the shamrock installed, the balloons on the balloon arch, the sound system in place, and Fitz’s truck festooned with green bunting.  Bishop put on the St. Patrick costume, Flo and I donned our tiaras, and we were ready to go.  We were waiting a little while for our turn to start, but it came, and soon we were going very slowly down the street, waving to the crowds on each side, and trying to get people to clap along to the Irish folk tunes blasting from our speakers.  My favorite spectators were the little kids – I loved waving especially to one little boy or girl and getting him or her to wave back at me.  I don’t know how long the parade actually lasted.  It seemed both very long, and like it was over before we’d hardly started.  And then we were done, parked by the sidewalk in front of the Veteran’s Memorial Center, dismantling what we’d worked so hard to put up.  It came down quickly, and then all of us headed into the convention center for the huge afterparty – a whole afternoon of Irish music and dancing, with, of course, lots of beer trucks to make sure everyone has a good time.  We stayed until about 3, and then headed home to avoid rush hour traffic.  Bishop drove with the windows down all the way back to Dayton, and I leaned my head back against the headrest, felt the balmy wind on my face, and didn’t quite avoid drowsing off.  It was kinda perfect.

However, the total cap to the day didn’t happen until after I got home.  I had run over to The Family Homestead to pick something up, and went to say hi to Dad.  He was laying on the couch with the most gorgeous Aran sweater draped across his chest.  I gave him a hug, and then told him that his sweater was great, and that I was coveting it, particularly since I’d seen so many lovely Aran sweaters that day.  He said, “Oh, do you want it?  I never wear it.” I said, “You’re kidding me, right?” And that was how I ended up wearing home a fabulous Aran sweater, a cardigan no less, with set-in shoulders, and pockets.  I haven’t taken it off except to sleep since.  And this is how I know that God loves me and has a sense of humor, and that my Dad loves me too.

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