Friday, November 16, 2012


After the last face-painted, sign-carrying individual walked past, I returned to street level and hoofed it to the end of the Processional route. Downtown Tucson is a warren of small side streets, so it was pretty easy to avoid getting caught up in the bystanders lining the sidewalk along most of the rest of the route, and catch up with almost the beginning of the processional. I was looking for my sister who was helping at the MMOS (Many Mouths One Stomach - the organizers of the event.) merchandise tent. When I was close to the end I got out the phone. The call went something like this:

Me: On call attempt number three and weaving in and out of people lining the sidewalk; to me: “answer, answer, answer.” then to her: “Good you answered. OK, where’s the tent?”

Sister: “I’m not at the tent.”

Me: Stunned silence for a moment as I mentally adjust my plans “Where are you then?”

Sister: “Walking in the Processional.”

Me: to myself “Well crap, I’ll never find her now.”

Me: to her “Where are you walking in the parade?”

Sister: “Near the big glowing Earth.”

Me: Coming to a halt and scanning the river of people and floats that is the processional “I see the Earth, where ‘near it’ are you?”

Sister: “Well right now, I am under the helicopter.”

Me: Glancing up and moving towards the Earth and ghetto bird “The helicopter is moving, are you in front of or behind the Earth?”

Sister: “Do you see the tall floaty white thing?”

Me: Scanning up and down the street. “The 'tall floaty white thing' in front of or behind the Earth?”

Sister: “Do you see the … oooo look at how cute that puppy is. Hey, did you see that? He’s so well painted. There’s my kid! Alex I’m glad you found us. Having fun?”

Me: “Ahemmmmmm.”

Sister: “Sorry. We are in the middle of the street next to the two giant heads.”

Me: “The one with the wings?”

Sister: “No the one with the glowing eyes.”

Me: starting to get a little frustrated. “Are you still near the Earth?”

Sister: “No we stopped to wait for you.”

Me: Turning back from trying to get to the Earth. “I can hear drums through your phone. Are you near the band?”

Feels tap on shoulder and is engulfed by hug from a young lady I barely recognized as my niece. “Hi, Bubba. Where’s your face paint? Mom’s just right back there, looking for you.”

Me: “Is she dressed up?”

Fabulous niece: “Yes, she’s wearing blue. See you later.” As she swirls off and is swallowed by the crowd.

Me: Sigh

Me: “I just saw your kid, I know you’re close, where are you?”

As I am peering through the ever changing sea of painted faces pouring past, I’m cursing my heritage. Being really short at times like this is a severe disadvantage. A brief opening between the cow bones bicycle and a family carrying a sign for their grandmother who died in August this year, and there is my sister - looking rather fantastic. Best face paint year ever. And next to her, a completely unexpected surprise, a friend I haven’t seen in 2 years. We hug, move off to the side and decide to wait for the band to catch up. As the musicians come abreast, we turn and get caught up in the flood of people swaying to the beat of the primal drumming and are carried along towards the final destination, a dirt parking lot, quickly filling with people.

In the Procession

We walked in the Processional for the rest of the route. It wasn’t much, only about a quarter mile, and spilled into the lot with the rest of the participants. My sister led the way to the merchandise booth being manned by, among others, my other sister. “Hi, love you. Can’t talk. To busy.”

My sister and I dove in to help. Having worked more art fairs than I can count, selling shirts and water was pretty easy. We stayed there until the finale was close starting, then I headed off to the next adventure of the night....

Visitors at the booth.

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