Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I also watched the entire Processional from start to finish. A first for me.

I found a perfect spot on the second level of a parking garage. Hanging over the rail (just a little, I’m afraid of heights), I had an unobstructed view of the street. It started slow, two policemen on bikes shooing people onto the curb. Then one police car, clearing the stragglers out of the street. Then a police truck, followed by two lone figures dressed in silver, playing a haunting, lonesome melody on saxophone and trumpet. Immediately behind was the urn and its entourage.

Then like a flash flood in a dry canyon, came the throngs of people in the processional filling the street. Some with face paint, some with full costumes, some with floats.

The floats aren’t like you imagine or think of at the Macy’s Day parade. They are hand-made, often lit with lights to glow in the dark, and represent the death of a person or something a thing; this year we had a local diner and the seed library represented, in addition to a native snake, Neil Armstrong, and a remembrance for transgender people. Though the most touching are the personal remembrances, a lost friend or family member. A simple photo being carried by a loved one. Multiple photos on placards. This year there was “the house that Bob built”, a replica of a house, with photos of family members and a small diorama with skeletons reclining on chairs, and a dozen or more people with signs and a wheeled cart remembering Momma Sousa, all with pink wigs and face paint.

Mixed in with the floats and the individual participants (most in groups) are bands. My absolute favorite part of the parade this year was watching a group go by singing a Catholic hymn, followed a few moments later by a group of Mariachis, followed by a group of Scottish pipers, in face paint. I thought to myself – “Only in Tucson”.

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