“Won’t you follow me down to the Rose Parade?”

Her expectant face shown a bright light on the correct answer but I couldn’t bring myself to rise.

How could I have gotten here; to the point where they all said I took this city for granted? It wasn’t true. I only eschewed the parade due to the fact that my interest in parades (and Halloween) had run to a dry tank about the time I could buy candy for myself. Why had I become something of a pariah in this city when the Rose Festival rolled around each year? Persecution for a preference seemed so un-Portland, yet the gavel slammed down annually and they sought to drag me to some imaginary cell under North Interstate Avenue.

I was sick of not hearing the end of it and having my Portland love questioned. So, rallying what little motivation and interest still lived within me, I walked to her side. She handed me my rain slicker; the rainiest June in recent memory would add a new wrinkle to what promised to be a further example of a tradition I had tired of.

Then I followed her down to the Rose Parade.

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