This last weekend my family flew into San Diego from Massachusetts to visit, and we were planning on heading to the Rose Bowl to watch Florida State take on the Oregon Ducks. Before the game, we watched the Rose Parade in Pasadena. This has been my Dad’s dream since he was a kid, growing up in a row home in Philadelphia and watching the parade and the game on television.

I picture him sitting there in my grandmother’s house, a young man who was then working at Franklin Field, cleaning up after the fans in the stands, sitting on the green carpet my grandmother had, observing the bands and the floats moving through the streets on an old RCA television with rabbit ears. He told me that he never imagined that he would be there in Pasadena.

So that made the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl more important than it could have been without him. I have some photos below that I took with my Samsung, and I wish I had my DSLR to take better pictures.

The parade was by far the best parade that I had ever attended, and I’ve been in a marching band. There were bands from Florida State, the University of Oregon, and Midland High School. Plus, the floats were monstrously big, and it was hard to imagine they were constructed out of flowers. Probably the funniest aspect of the parade was that the pooper scoopers who followed the horses were receiving some of the biggest applauses.

But the parades struck me in a strange way, because I was a member of the Clinton High School marching band. I was a drummer, and yes I wore the goofy hats and the strange jackets. I looked at these other bands, and I just realized how terrible of a band we were comparatively. We had a great band leader and excellent teacher, but our lines were out of proportion, our brass section was out of tune, and our drum corps would get tired and hold the drums as if they were sacks of water and they were traveling through the desert.

So what is so special about the Rose Parade? After the parade is over, everyone found their cars and started weaving through the traffic, except for my family, who went walking down Colorado in search of food or a place to sit — anything to avoid the traffic. On the way out, there was trash all over the streets: an unopened red Gatorade bottle, soda cups, silly string, and countless containers of food. It was a mess. Sometimes I wonder what all the fuss is about.

But then I saw an RV — they were all over the place in parking lots to watch the parade — with posters and streamers ushering in the new year. I guess that’s what it’s all really about: ushering in a new year with a celebration, with an over the top and celebrated walk through the streets of Pasadena in order for us all to stay positive about the future. I think about the parades where governments march tanks and warheads down the street — here we cheer on floats made out of flowers and applaud military members on horseback.

That’s what this post is really about: welcoming the new year. Over the next year, this blog will follow my travels as well as my 2015 goals: publish more stories and poems; finish a draft of my new novel; and master the Creative Cloud. Thanks to everyone for making 2014 a great year. Your comments are always welcomed.

(As for the Rose Bowl game, for the sake of my FSU friends, I won’t bring up any of the details.)