A Thanksgiving Odyssey: Bands, Buses, and Big Bad Balloons (Completed!!!)

Discussion in 'DIS Dads' started by GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Agreed and thanks Andy.

    I had to think for a long time about how best to show this part of the trip.
    It was one of the most important experiences and I hope I gave it proper respect.
     
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  3. FreezinRafiki

    FreezinRafiki Cold enough for ya?

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    I was hoping you'd touch on that aspect of the memorial - that there was a significant percentage of your traveling party that experienced this a whole lot differently than most of us.
     
  4. Captain_Oblivious

    Captain_Oblivious DIS Dad #257

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    Well said, Rob. Thanks for the pictures and description. The memorial looks like a fitting reminder of a horrible day.
     
  5. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Thanks guys,
    first for reading and for commenting.


    Max was just a couple of weeks into the first grade the morning when the towers collapsed. The decision was made that for kids that young; it wasn’t the place of the school to go into the events in any detail. I believe the kids were fully aware that something bad had happened and that the teachers in particular were rather upset, but it was left to the parents (as it should have been) to work through it with them. We also felt that generalities were all that my overly sensitive six-year-old needed at the time. That being the case, Max learned the greater details over time both at home and at school and therefore sees that day more historically.

    Given that similar back ground for all of the kids on this trip I was interested to see how they’d react. To a person, I believe that every one of them could feel the immense gravity of the place where we were walking. And every one of them behaved as dignified ladies and gentlemen while we were there. Watching them conduct themselves so gracefully and also seeing that they were all trying to work out what they were seeing against what they’d been taught was very satisfying.



    Watching your kids “become” (as my momma use to explain it) is both exhilarating and terrifying.

    If you do it right, you’ll suffer terribly from the apparent loss or your priceless and adorable children…

    but you get to witness the building of very fine adults.

    We have them for so short a time, but the world is shaped by them for decades and even centuries to come.
     
  6. Wherem I Now

    Wherem I Now DIS Dad #30

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    Well done update. Thanks for sharing this.
     
  7. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Chapter 5: Remembrances (Day 5)




    Part 6: The Last Hurrah







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    We had run out of daylight and tomorrow our adventure was ending. Fairly early in the morning we’d be headed back home to start new adventures (just at a slower pace). Those were bittersweet facts, but we still had an evening on the town ahead of us. It’s a little like watching the fireworks after the ball game (or “Wishes” after a day at the MK for that matter). We were basically done, but there was still just a little bit more entertainment on the horizon.


    So let’s chase that horizon, what say?




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    Back to Midtown





    We stayed at the 9/11 Memorial a bit longer then first anticipated. This was not a problem, it just takes a while to maneuver a fleet of busses… excuse me, coaches… through downtown Manhattan. Once they had arrived on the scene, the whole group quietly exited the memorial via the reverse route from which we arrived and loaded ‘em up.



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    Our next destination was just too far off to walk easily, and the heat on the buses was a welcome arrival since the sun had fully set by now.

    A little maneuvering, a couple of turns, a score or so of traffic lights to wait through and it was dinnertime.



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    This place is actually another chain restaurant. As I said before, we had different priorities, so finding the perfect and memorable New York City dining experience just wasn’t in the cards.

    So, was the food here fabulous?

    Well, no…

    but it was quite good, and they set up a nice all you care to have buffet…
    and (most importantly) they could seat 300 guests at a crack on a single reservation.

    This is also the only time all week when I had a bit more to eat then I really ought to have. Buffets will do that to you.


    Next stop: Times Square





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    The Long Acre





    Now this was actually going to be a fairly short update at first, so it seemed like a good spot to stick in a mini bonus feature.

    That being the case…
    that’s what you’ll get
    (assuming you don’t skip on ahead that is).


    I’ve actually discussed a bit of the square’s history a little ways back in this particular TR update right here…



    The Fruits of Other's Labors...



    But I want to touch on a different aspect of it now. First a little set up for those that have no intention of going back to read the prior update…

    Times Square is basically the point where Broadway crosses over Seventh Avenue and officially stretches from 42nd to 47th Streets. In the nineteenth century the area was the hub of the cities manufactures of high-end carriages and was named Longacre Square.



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    The name was in homage to a similar section of London known for producing the same high-end product. That changed in 1904 after the compellation of this little bit of architecture…



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    Dubbed the New York Times Building, or simply as the Times Tower, this 25 story skyscraper at 42nd Street and Broadway was the second tallest building in Manhattan when it opened. Technically, the address of the place should be 1475 Broadway, but right after the owners got the city father to rename the square in their honor, they also got the official address changed to One Times Square.



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    New Year’s Eve was first celebrated here in 1903 even before he building was finished. Fireworks were shot from the roof top for all that cared to watch. The event for which the area is most famous though first occurred in 1908 when the Time’s editor decided to expand on a common practice along the dockyards of lowering a “time ball” built around a roof top pole to mark certain hours of the day. They just lit the contraption internally, performed the stunt at night and marked the passing of the year at midnight (finally explaining what connection a glittering ball has with the marking of time).



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    The square has been a New York gathering spot for momentous events for some time now. Folks would gather to wait for news of the blow-by-blow action of the latest Dempsey fight, or to hear the play-by-play account of the World Series.



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    And to mark and otherwise celebrate any other marginally noteworthy event that may have spring up along our national time line …



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    Interestingly, the building for which this square is named still resides in the exact same spot, but you’d have a hard time telling it. All of the stone work has since been removed and now it's really just a massive billboard. Not that this is a bad thing necessarily. The revenue derived from the various bits of signage are so great that there are no longer any actual tenants within the building itself (except for the retail space on the lower couple of floors).



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    The digital signs are considered to be the most valuable in the world and can be rented by anyone so inclined for as little as $10,000 per hour.




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    Taking the Square





    After dinner we had one last item on the agenda.


    A photograph.


    Not just any photograph mind you, we were going to walk over to Times Square and get a professional shot of the entire band on the Square amongst all the hustle, bustle and bright lights of the city. So after dinner, we did what we’d done most of the week. We started walking. One long train from 42nd, down 8th Ave to 46th and then onto Broadway smack in the middle of the pedestrian center of the square itself…



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    From here everyone was on their own for the next couple of hours. Well… not the kids at first, they had something else on the agenda. For those of us traveling with them it was time to get out of the way, let them have their last moment on the stage and find something different with which to entertain ourselves. It didn’t take long for me to find a small spot on the square that perfectly fit that bill…



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    Well, well, imagine that… Disney made an appearance on a New York street. Actually, it’s the Disney folks that are partly responsible for revitalizing what had become a rather seedy area. It also gave the fairly jaded locals something to sneer at. Midtown and Times Square in particular are considered to be tourist central and a “true city dweller” wouldn’t be seen here.

    Ehhh… their loss.

    Does the area scream “NYC? No, but to the rest of the world, it certainly screams “America”. So what was on the inside? Well, other than a fairly cool carousel for mannequins and stuffed animals…



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    It looked like the inside of every other Disney gift shop. But I was able to get me a shirt from the closeout bin for less than a sandwich would have cost on the streets.

    Next on the agenda…

    Cheesecake!
    (the desert, not the photo-genre)


    There’s a dinner on 45th just off the square that is renowned for the stuff: Juniors of Brooklyn (obviously this is the tourist version of the original in Flatbush)



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    It may be a dinner and that part of the business takes up most of the space, but the little take-out shop beside the dining room is the place to be in the evenings. So renowned are the goodies here that on this average Friday evening the line was out the door. All the directors and staff were buying entire cakes to bring back home. That was enough for me to give it a shot. We got a couple of slices and found a table in front of the shop to nibble. One bite in and we were back in line buying a couple of whole cakes to bring bank home as well. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend the stuff.

    After leisurely enjoying our ill-gotten gains we were basically done for the evening. The plan was to head back to the square, and find the spot where all the rest of the folks from Bus-4 were gathering…



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    Once a head count of the kids was done we started out in our usual single file and “marched” off the square and back toward the bus pick up. As usual, the overly organized stream of people on the move turned a lot of heads as the locals and tourists alike were trying to figure out what was going on. At one point we passed by a cop on horseback that was at first chatting up some of the other tourists, but was now intently watching us back trying to figure it out. Right about the time I walked by the officer and his noble steed, he hollered out: “Ohhhhh… all you guys must be one of the bands from the parade yesterday!” We gave a little shout to introduce ourselves and let him know that he had it right. The group of folks around him gave us back a hoot and a small round of applause. One last fun moment before we boarded the buses and headed back to Jersey…



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    That was that.


    We’d seen all of New York that we were going to see this time around. I think everyone was ready for bed by now (especially as we had a long ride ahead of us in the morning). But it was still a lot of fun to the roam the streets gawking at all the over the top billboards and electronic eye candy (both inside and outside the various shops). One last hurrah and one last chance to collect up a few bits of brick-a-brack and otherwise unnecessary souvenirs. Well… not all of them were unnecessary. The one we had stopped on the square to get in the first place was most certainly worth the trip and it’s one that y’all have already seen before (you just probably don’t remember it from all the way back on page one of this mess). That would be this one right here…



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    If you ask me… that’s one fine looking bunch of young’ens right there.




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    The Long Road Home






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    Our last sunrise view of the Gotham skyline…


    At one point this section might have been an update unto itself. But after a bit of consideration there are really only a couple of points about the ride home that are really worth discussing. One of them would be the delay.

    The plan for the day was to be up early and get on the road. All the gear was already packed up and all that needed to happen was to serve everyone a bit of breakfast and throw the luggage in the last empty compartments. Fate had other plans though.



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    The rear tire on Bus-1 that had given us trouble earlier in the week, gave out completely. We had to call folks in to replace it before heading out. That cost us about an hour and half of daylight (and a few more big bucks). To make up the time we skipped several of the rest stops along the way back.

    Ehhh… Could have been worse.

    For the rest of the day, my basic view of the world was pretty close to this one…



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    There’s not much to look at along most of the Interstate System. There were a couple of films on the monitors, but nothing as entertaining as say… a Disney flick. At one point there was an attempted Coup d'état amongst the guys to get a decent football picked up off the satellite antenna tossed onto the screens. The women folk put a quick stop to that one. In retaliation for such an egregious act, they demonstrated their absolute authority by running a DVD of “The Devil Wears Prada”.



    “Respect my authoritah!”


    Point made… now the monotonous landscape passing by my window was far more entertaining. Actually the sunset along the Virginia highlands was spectacular.



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    That image doesn’t do it justice, but still…


    There was one other significant event. Significant to simple country hicks like us that is.

    Once we finally crossed back into South Carolina and were literally less than five miles from home, all the busses pulled into the Welcome Center just past the state line. I was told later by some of the chaperones that the kids started questioning this turn of events demanding (rather emphatically) to know what was up. The Director said back to them: “Well… If you stop you’re complaining I’ll show you what you missed out on a couple of weeks ago”. Now, a couple of weeks ago, these same kids had succeeded in winning their third consecutive state marching band championship. As much fun as this whole trip had been, it didn’t compare to the excitement of that accomplishment. Really, this had just been the icing on the cake for all the hard work done so far that year. What they missed out on though was a proper small town police escort back into the city afterward. It seems that there were two separate fires and several active police calls going on when we got back home late that evening (something do take priority over the revelry of youth… not much, but some). As such, the city vehicles were somewhat busy. No big deal, but all concerned decided that what needed to be done was to give the kids an official escort along the last few miles home after their triumphant return from the big city.



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    Yah… that’s a crappy picture of the commotion going on ahead of us, but you get the idea. Call us simple country folk, but that was actually quite exciting. A couple of squad cars lead the way and fire engines took up position between each bus. Lights flashing, and sirens blearing, we made quite the ruckus for the last few miles of the trip. As the procession pulled onto school property, all the waiting parents set off their car alarms and start honking on the horns. If you lived anywhere near the school, you weren’t going to be getting back to sleep for a while.

    Just look at us bumpkins. We’d done spent a week in one of the most glamorous and cosmopolitan cities on Earth, and were we are all excited about a small town police escort.



    Silly us…







    Next up: I’ll finally wrap this entire disaster of a TR up in just one post…

    “Really!”
     
  8. Wherem I Now

    Wherem I Now DIS Dad #30

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    So, You gonna finish this off at about the one year mark aren't ya? I wonder how many of those kids will be sitting in front of the TV on Thursday saying "that was me last year".

    I've never had a bad meal at a Chevy's. Bad service yes, but not a bad meal.


    Seems that not having any tenants in the upper floors is quite a waste of valuable space. Maybe all of the signage blocks the windows and therefore the fire escapes.



    :thumbsup2 That's one that those kids (and some proud parents) will have up on the wall for years.

    :wave:

    That's an awesome welcome home! :cool1:
     
  9. Captain_Oblivious

    Captain_Oblivious DIS Dad #257

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    Bring me that horizon!

    You're eating cars for dinner?:confused3

    Never eaten here (or heard of it, actually). But the phrase "all-you-can-eat-buffet" is basically magic words to me.

    Thanks for explaining this. I never knew why they had settled on a big ball dropping.

    So I see it's always been this crowded.

    Shame. Looks like it was a beautiful building. It's interesting that there are no tenants. Seems like a waste of space.

    That works out to about $2.78/second, so I could probably shell out for a good 3 seconds of advertising. I'll have to see if that's in the marketing budget for Cinematic Recording Arts Productions.

    Good choice.

    Actually, I think it does. Nowhere else in America do you see a place like that.

    :thumbsup2

    Any particular flavor? And did they use cream cheese or ricotta? I've tried ricotta cheesecake at some Italian places and...:crazy2:

    Agreed. It's a great shot! :thumbsup2

    Probably because you skipped Delaware again, didn't you?

    :woohoo::cool1::banana:

    :sad2: What happened to equal time? Hopefully this was followed by a screening of Commando.

    Looks beautiful.

    Very cool!
     
  10. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    And those little moments are sometimes some of the best and most memorable.

    Well, the American English translation of the word buffet is actually "challenge." Not many people know that.

    I think I vaguely remember something about Times Square being mentioned a long, long, long time ago.


    And here's what I learned today. :rotfl2:

    I'm definitely curious about this one... why isn't it in use? As valuable as real estate is in that city, I can't believe that they'd just let a building sit idle, regardless of how valuable its facade is, unless there's a really good reason.

    Think we can find a mysterious benefactor to scrape together that kind of change to air a live broadcast of the live Disdads podcast recording at the convention?:confused3

    A Disney shirt for cheaper than a sandwich??? How does anyone afford to eat in NYC????? :scared1:

    Love a good cake. Like Mark, I'd like to know what kind you had.

    Ill-gotten??? Did you "forget" to pay?

    ::yes::

    :scared1: :faint:

    Cool experience. I'm sure the kids enjoyed it.

    Well, you keep talking about country bumpkins and everything, but it can't be all that backwoods and redneck if there are car alarms to be set off! :lmao:
     
  11. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    No, it's named after the comedian, not the car.

    Their signature dish is a dry turkey jerky, but they have a really good jello for dessert and I've heard they serve squirrel now. :rolleyes1
     
  12. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    That’s the plan. We’ll see if I can pull it off.
    As for those watching this years parade …
    Hard to say (but I know we had it on the telle while enjoying a little bit of brunch)


    Something to consider. The place was an unknown to us as there aren’t any example of it in the area. Like I said, the food was good, just not over the top good. Bad service however… that’d make me think twice before going back.


    The story goes that they make so much from the billboards that they don’t need the tenant income. There is also a secondary problem. The upper floors aren’t centrally air-conditioned. That upgrade was never put in since the bulk of the renter moved out years ago, and now it would be pricey to correct for no more additional income then it would generate. Or so say a couple of the articles that I based the feature on.


    ::yes::


    That was along I-87 crossing through the Shenandoah valley. We weren’t too far from where you call home



    The kids got a kick out if it.
    Awwww, who am I kiddin’… the “grown-ups” did too.
     
  13. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Drink up, me hearties, yo ho!


    No… I was eating burritos, but I’ve heard of a fellow that tried to eat a jeep to prove that he was too crazy to be in the army.


    All-you-can-eat is a powerful siren call. We actually went out for a similar buffet for Thanksgiving yesterday. That was also tasty, and I didn’t have to clean either the house or the dishes. That is also high of my list of magical things.



    I wandered about it myself… thus the real reason behind that mini-bonus feature. I’d heard of the “time ball” used to communicate between docks and he ships entering and leaving a port, but I never put two and two together to understand the New Year’s tradition until now.


    It seems so…
    And more so in the past then now.


    They make so much form the advertising that the only tenant is the “ball” that they’ll be dropping in a few weeks.



    Let us know when you’re planning on launching that photo blitz. We might have to get a bunch of the dad’s up there to see if we can determine exactly when it occurs.


    Your closer to right then they are.
    Like I said they’re busy being fashionably jaded.


    They’re all the traditional cream cheese verity. As for flavors, I’m sure that they have a number of good ones, but I wasn’t paying attention to those verities. When I order up a cheesecake, I go after the real thing; the original unadulterated Yiddish artifact. Yummmmm….

    I didn’t get to choose the route, so I’m pretty sure that we made a hard right just before getting to that particular boarder.


    “Hope is a dangerous thing. Drive a man insane. It's got no place here. Better get used to the idea.”

    Everyone should experience a police escort at least once.
     
  14. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Feeling a bit philosophical are we?
    And you’ve forced me to once again agree with my nemesis.
    Nicely played.


    I’ll be sure to tuck that little detail into my next bonus feature.
    Oh…I’ll be sure to credit you of course.


    What a long strange trip it’s been…
    But it almost over now so you can breath a sigh of relief.


    Glad to be of service.
    There’s apparently not enough useless crap rolling around in your noggin, so I’m attempting to rectify the situation.


    The profit form the signs is really that good…
    And they don’t have to upgrade the interior or field complaints from the tenants.
    Signs don’t complain much


    It’s a fine goal to be sure…
    Not in my budget, but still a fine goal.


    That’s a good question.
    At this time though, I don’t have a good answer,
    But it’s a good question.


    The real stuff. Traditional with no toppings.
    Real cheesecake don’t need ‘em.

    Oh I paid for them.
    In many ways to be sure…



    Probably. Being teenagers they were a bit blaze about it when questioned afterward.
    The adults however were as giddy as little girls at a slumber party.

    Oh I forgot to mention that the alarms were really just a mixture of barking dogs, cowbells, and the odd shotgun being fired into the air.

    Does that bring it back into perspective?
     
  15. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

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    Chapter 6: A Whole Different Animal…








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    I was and am quite thankful. Thankful that we had the chance to travel to New York; thankful that our kids got to be part of a iconic national event; thankful for the many unique experiences that we’d had through the entire year; but mostly, I was thankful that we had traveled back home on Saturday. That gave me at least one day to convalesce before having to go straight back to work. And that’s a good thing because I wasn’t even worth shooting the next morning.

    First off I was dealing with fairly nasty cold that had started to manifest itself on the long ride home (that wasn’t much fun). But mostly I was just beat from the extreme and rambling schedule that the trip had required. Most everyone in our house spent the better part of Sunday in our own familiar, comfortable beds (something else you tend to miss while traveling).

    But even still…
    Monday was upon us before we knew it and it was back to the regular grind.


    Well… not exactly.


    There was one more minor event on the calendar that demanded the attention of our little high school band.

    A parade…


    What!?!?!? Another Parade!?!?!?
    Isn’t that where we came into to this D-Grade excuse for a TR in the first place!


    NOOOOOOOooooooooooooooo……….




    Oh yes Virginia, and it gets worse.
    It’s a small town parade.




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    No Place Like Home





    I want to welcome y’all to our hometown.



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    I actually moved around a good bit in my early youth, but I’ve been in this particular county since the bicentennial and this little town is the only home my son has ever known. Since you took time to drop in, let me show y’all around a bit.

    Here’s the memorial park (every southern town has some variation on this theme)…



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    And another ubiquitous small town feature: the rail line running smack through (but no longer making stops within) downtown…

    Followed immediately by the pièce de résistance… Main Street!



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    All two blocks of it.

    Yep…
    I said two blocks.

    You see that ugly, multicolored, flowery looking thingy at the top of the hill on the far left of that last image? That questionable bit of public art marks the northeast end of the street and the railhead at the bottom of the hill is the southwestern terminus of our glorious rendition of Broadway.

    That’s it, there ain’t no more.


    Now, we do have a few “major” monuments just like the big cities. There’s our veterans memorial (a fairly new feature here that the local boosters, myself included, are quite proud of)…



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    And the big ol’ waving Saint Nick standing on the hill top overlooking Main Street and the “Mill Stone Plaza”.

    Yah… we’re hicks… we’re quite aware of that fact.



    So why am I bothering you with all these pointless details?

    So that you’ll have a little bit of context surrounding the major event that all these folks were gathering to see…



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    With myself being among them…




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    Let’s get this party started…





    We staked ourselves out a spot just after the turn off of Main Street. As it turns out this was good for getting a clear view of the various units, but it had a slight downside that would crop up later on. That’s a minor detail though… let’s get on with the show.

    Up in the big city, they started the parade off with folks on roller-blades, a police escort and a big ol’ balloon. Down here we kicked it off with an ROTC unit. That just seems like the thing to do. The two schools down here maintain Marine ROTC posts and they will take turns leading off the town parades.


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    After a couple of council rep and local officials, the next bit of actual entertainment was the synchronized go-carts maintained by one of the area Shrine clubs. A little like the Energizer Bunny, these guys would head up a little ways and then turn and come back variously breaking into figure eights or crisscross maneuvers before turning again to move farther down the way.



    And finally… a celebrity I know. Well… Sort’a.

    Meet “Fat Elvis”



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    The bottom image was before the parade started. I figured you’d like a clearer look just to see for yourself that Elvis is indeed still alive (He may have just gone back home, but still saw fit to return just long enough to appear in our humble procession.

    We are truly blessed…



    Next up… a choir



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    Little else speaks to the hearts of a small town like an elementary school choir. I don’t remember specifically which carols they serenaded us with, but does it really matter.


    Children were singing.

    Christmas had arrived.



    Now the next two entries are prime examples of the difference between a big city parade and a small town parade. Up in New York the city sent out a brigade of boom-lift trucks to move all the street lamps and traffic signals. Down here we have a different use for a “cherry-picker” truck during such festive occasions. As parade floats…



    [​IMG]



    As for that second picture… I’ve got no clue how to even explain that one. What they intended to represent or even what connection the papier-mâché dragon’s head that had been built onto an office chare had to do with the Christmas season escapes me at the moment (Chinese New Year maybe… still not sure). But again, does it really matter? A group of proud parents and small children got to march in a parade.

    What could possibly be more festive or speak more to the heart of the season?



    Next… a bit of music.



    [​IMG]



    Introducing… our rivals; the very fine young musicians that make up the Fort Mill HS Band. With decades of experience and better than twenty state marching championships, they deserve respect (and I do respect that program, but I also rather enjoyed seeing our kids taking the championship over them that year).

    Speaking of respect… The Grinch was in the process of acquiring a little bit of that commodity. It seems that the County Sheriff’s officers had picked him up and were offering the ol’ boy a bit of time to consider his actions (a concept close akin to the old colonial concept of a public pillory).



    [​IMG]



    Right behind the mobile Whoville Penitentiary was something a bit more serine; one of the local hand-bell choirs. Quite the jarring bit of juxtaposition wouldn’t you say? They were a might hard to hear over the general outdoor noise, but it was still a nice and unexpected touch for a holiday parade.


    Now it’s time to get back to a little bit of Americana. Does that mean Dancing Girls? Not just yet, we’ll get to that later on. Right now though we encountered something else very American, are more typical of small towns… Boy Scouts.



    [​IMG]



    This is a group from a very well run troop/pack from the next town out. One of their signature annual events is a great push-go-cart race and they decided to bring out some of the better entries built by the kids and their parents that season.



    Pop Quiz! When you don’t have a lot of floats handy to glide down the thoroughfares at your local parade what do you use as a substitute?

    Random trucks of course…



    [​IMG]



    Ok… not completely random. We encountered the Elks Club’s pick-up promoting drug awareness. The “Servepro” truck however, actually was rather a bit random (if you ask me), but it appears that the Grinch had escaped from the county sheriffs and was hitching a ride. Gratuitous advertising aside, no parade is truly complete until you see an old fire engine and that last image right there was one mighty fine example of the breed.


    I said earlier that our spot along the route had a disadvantage. This issue was that we were just beyond where the local television cameras had set up. Generally not an issue, but since the three bands performing that day would make a point to play at that spot, they likely would be walking by us in a cadence. That being the case, I figured I needed to walk over to the corner to get a better picture of the next group in the procession. These kids right here…



    [​IMG]



    If you were to click on that little image, you’ll notice that what they were playing was distinctly not very Christmassy. Well… they’d only had a week to prepare and decided that rather than play a medley of carols, they’d play the same stuff that had worked so well up in NYC. Not to mention the hometown folks (and local cable television folks) hadn’t gotten to hear it live prior to now anyway.

    I was headed back to my chair as they made their turn off of main and on to the home stretch when the majors caught me off guard and kicked off the next tune without rolling through the cadence. As such I missed the first few measures of the next tune…



    [​IMG]



    That’s my favorite of their various pep-band tunes, simply because it represents the Carolinas so nicely. That vid also allowed the girls from the school’s “Dance Team” who were uncharacteristically traveling along with the band that morning to get a little bit of camera time. Hay, it’s the holidays… we can share the limelight.


    Right behind our kids was a couple more fire trucks
    (of the more modern variety).



    [​IMG]



    The kids riding along in the basket out in front of that last truck looked to be having the time of their lives.

    Next on the agenda was this hillbilly-esk contraption
    (Please don’t ask me to explain it… I don’t think it’s possible).



    [​IMG]



    But as you can see, we did try to atone for our appalling lack of judgment by immediately following it up with more cub scouts (pictures of young kids are second only to pictures of babies when it comes to quickly changing the subject).

    Now, I don’t want to miss lead you into thinking that our little rendition of a parade was completely devoid of festive holiday floats. Such is not the case. There is a group of folks down here that own about a half dozen or so “generic parade floats”. This same hand full of glittery trailers will show up at each local parade in turn. You just slap a sign or two for the local sponsor on the side, load up a few of said sponsors employees or principals along with some kids and at least one person in a costume of some type, and you get visions like these…



    [​IMG]



    Now I can’t speak directly to the character of the individuals working the suits, nor for the choice of image that said suites are intended to represent, but I can say with all certainty, that there actually were floats in the parade that day.

    Next up… the third band of the day.



    [​IMG]



    These kids are from the next town over (and if you dot speak South’rn… that would be to the east), and yes the name of the town actually is Indian Land. That’s not a slur or a slight; it’s the name of the town. And you can tell by the size of their corps of ambassadors that it’s a very small town as well (making ours look like a veritable metropolis). Being small however doesn’t mean that you can’t be good at something and these kids are quite competitive in their class (and entertaining to listen to).


    By now it’s fairly apparent that about the only thing we saw in the Macy’s parade that we’d not yet seen in the hometown variant, was dancing girls. Not to worry, we’ve got that one covered too…



    [​IMG]



    You’ve got to know that the local dance schools live for stuff like this. There were elves, snowflakes, reindeer and various Mrs. Clauses all just a clickin’ their heels and succeeding in being down right adorable to boot.

    As things were starting to wind down, we were next treated to a number of fine example of classic automotive locomotion in the form of one of the local car clubs…



    [​IMG]



    And as you can see that was immediately followed by a triumphant appearance of our Mayor.
    Wait a minute…
    that’s not the mayor!

    At least I don’t think it is…

    is that him?

    Nooooo…
    that’s not him I’m sure of it.

    I think?



    Oh wait!

    Look!


    A Tae Kwon Do demonstration!!!



    [​IMG]



    Followed none too soon by another ROTC unit.

    It’s about time y’all showed up I was starting to worry about the overly serious themes that this parade was turning to. Bless the Army ROTC for returning us to something more honorable.

    Oh… and you did think to go back up there and click on that last compilation of images didn’t you?

    Well did ya'?


    OK, now that the fine young ladies and gentleman of the junior officer corps have reinstated a bit of sanity… there really is only one other possible unit that could be coming up next in this shindig.



    “The big man… The head honcho… The connection!”

    Riding what else? A fire engine of course.
    (What? You were expecting reindeer?)



    [​IMG]



    And as with any great holiday event… the appearance of the Jolly Ol’ Elf signaled the official end of another traditional pageant.



    Huzzah!!!




    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
    So what was the point?





    By the way…
    This here TR is actually complete now, so y’all are under no obligation to read any farther.


    Really!





    So why did I decide to close this distinctly Non-Disney Trip Report by comparing our grand adventure to New York City back to a humble small town Christmas parade? Well… on the surface, there really was no “reason” for it at all. The Christmas Parade was simply the next event on our kids schedule and the official end of the 2011 marching season. So it just seemed to be the next logical entry in my chronology of events.

    But then again… these two event were just days apart in my realm of experience. The famous national event was still quite fresh in my mind as I was enjoying the more simple innocence of our home event. It seemed to put everything we’d experienced into perspective. The trip to New York was a rare opportunity for the kids and parents alike. We saw and experienced things that for many of us will never be available again. We expanded our worlds a bit and got some firsthand experience with people and places that most of us really knew only from books, films and pop culture.

    I think that the real point of all this nonsense is to say that when a chance to travel presents itself, no matter how it is disguised, make sure that you hop on that bus


    “Baby steps… get on a bus…”


    This is true no matter how far the bus is traveling. The entire world may be just over the horizon, but the entire world is also all around you if you take time to experience it. And more importantly, take time to realize that you are a part of that world, and not just existing within it. Proverbs proclaim that every journey begins with a single step. But they’re never specific as to when a journey ends. The easy answer is that it ends when you stop taking steps. The real answer is that is ends when you either don’t remember or no longer care about the steps you take. Myself I’m looking forward to taking more steps away from where I currently am.


    If you’d care to follow along, I’d be grateful for the company…









    [​IMG]
     
  16. Wherem I Now

    Wherem I Now DIS Dad #30

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2,700
    I was just thinking after the last update that they probably had a local parade (or a few) to do back at home... :thumbsup2

    Nothing like a hometown parade. Sure, you don't have giant balloons, national recording stars, and Network TV coverage, bit Macy's doesn't have Fat Elvis, Grinch in a cage, or Shriners! :rotfl:



    This was a great way to close out this Trip Report!

    This has been a fun an interesting read. I think I may have even learned a thing or two from the Bonus Features.

    I like the What about Bob reference above. As I read through that section, another movie quote with a different transportation service was running through my head. "The thing about trains... it doesn't matter where they're going. What matters is deciding to get on." That may apply to buses as well...

    Thanks for taking us along for the journey Rob! :thumbsup2
     
  17. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Messages:
    6,091
    Very true.
    The images presented in the big city may be what folks “calm” to aspire to…
    But it the small town stuff that says who we really are.

    And all things considered, that’s not a bad thing.




    Thanks for following along Mike. It took me a while longer that it ought to have to get this one done, but I enjoyed putting it together. I don’t generally pick up a lot of followers (especially when it’s for a non Disney trip), but I appreciate those that do follow along.

    Thanks again.


    That’s a great quote as well (and more seasonally appropriate).
    I may need to bust that DVD out in the near.
     
  18. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    10,793
    So... this parade was Sunday afternoon??? :scared1: Busy weekend. :rotfl2::lmao:

    Well, better than a few of them you saw in NYC... :lmao::rotfl2::rotfl:

    So, is this considered to be another celebrity sighting? :confused3 :lmao:

    So, somebody apparenlty didn't get the memo that the Grinch was already in the parade. They'll scar the kids for life. That doesn't sound like very good advertisement. :rotfl2:

    Ok, I'll take a stab at it...

    It appears that some movie buff tried to merge this:

    [​IMG]

    With this:

    [​IMG]

    :thumbsup2

    Where was the Mickey balloon? :confused3

    No, not good enough, back to this holstein you have for a mayor...

    Or at least a cow with antlers velcroed onto it's head. :confused3


    Looks like a nice little parade. A bit different from the big stage experience in NYC, but maybe a bit more meaningful to all involved with all the friends and family present. :thumbsup2
     
  19. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Messages:
    6,091
    Actually it was the next Saturday, so while it was still a break from the regular grind, we all still had to deal with that grind for at least the first five days before another diversion showed itself.


    And… I knew who it was. Bonus!


    In my book… it counts (and both the Grinch and Fat Elvis are far more deserving of the title “celebrity” then most of the folks laying calm to the distinction).


    Well kids don’t generally get on the phone to hire a “post disaster clean-up” company, but it was somewhat of an oversight. My explanation for the young’ens around where we were sitting was that he’d simply escaped form the sheriffs and was making his get-away from town by hiding in plain sight.


    A picture is worth a thousand words.
    Those two speak volumes.


    I forgot to post the picture of the street vendor pushing a grocery cart full of various carnival trinkets and souvenirs before the parade got started. Amongst the stuffed animals, blow-up “Santa” dolls, glow sticks and knock-off light-sabers, he also had helium filled balloons, and I’m pretty sure one of them looked a lot mike a Mickey-Head.


    What… you’re telling me you elected officials are more respected and capable then our Holstein?

    I’m gonn’a need proof of that one.


    Better then antlers stapled to the head of a door mouse.

    Actually… now that you mention it, I think that there were a set of antlers strapped to the mirrors on either side of the fire truck (or at least there will be once I go photoshop them in).


    It was fun and we’ll get to watch the current version of that one this coming weekend.


    That’s the last easy shot I’ll be teeing up for you to whack me for taking so long to finish this TR so you best find a really good come back for it.



    While I’m at it…
    Thanks for following along Andy. It may be a while before we have another trip that will merit a TR (on this board at least).

    I am looking forward to the TR for your upcoming trip. I’ve been reading the PTR, but I’m waiting for the real thing to get started before regularly harassing you.
     
  20. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    10,793
    No actually, I'd compare ours to a different kind of barnyard animal known for its stubborn demeanor... Although, ironically, most of them are from the party that uses a different animal as its mascot.

    :confused3

    I'll just save the low blow for the next part.

    So what will you be doing next Monday morning? :rolleyes1
     
  21. GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes Dis Dad #469 . . . . "Nation Ford", SC

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Messages:
    6,091
    Our officials fit the same ironic description as well (including the Holstein).



    There ain’t no next part, I’m officially done with this TR.
    So go on ahead and take your shot now.

    Unlike you, I don’t even have a trip on the horizon at all.
    It's sad that I wont have the year “2012” listed anywhere in my Sig.
    Just plain sad :sad2:



    Working at a job I no longer enjoy and being envious of the big family trip y’all are on. :(

    So you’ll need to get the new TR started up pretty quickly.
    I’ll be needin’ someone to vent all that frustration out on.


    Y’all have fun down there! :thumbsup2
    (and try to avoided anymore confrontations with big ol’ cranes on barges).
     

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