Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)
TITLE: The Parade
By Lori Robbins
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September 15, 2009
My heart pounded inside my chest as my mother, husband and I anxiously awaited forty-five minutes in the sweltering Florida heat to view the Disney Hollywood Studios new Block Party Parade. Being a native Floridian, and the Disney fan that I am, I had to have a front-row viewing. A sea of blue rental strollers, woven tightly together, lined the sidewalks of Hollywood boulevard, baring anyone from infiltrating their established turf. But I was no newcomer to the wonderful world of Disney. I had insider information on where to stand for an unobstructed view, and none of these visiting newbie’s stood a chance against my years of theme park knowledge.
Just as the little tikes were getting antsy in their strollers and their parent’s frustrations grew, the song Celebration blared over the parks loudspeakers. The kids began to clap, trying desperately without success to stay on beat, while older parade viewers voiced unashamedly the all too familiar words of the song for all to hear. Heads strained and necks cocked sideways as we all vied to glimpse the first of four multi-colored floats as it magically made its way around the corner. Numerous entertainers, in costumes of neon bright oranges, reds, greens, yellows and blues, danced their way down the street towards us, encouraging the crowd along the way to clap and sing-a-long with them. Despite the heat and the sweat dripping from our forwards, we all caught the fever and the celebration was in full swing.
Then, I spotted her. A beautiful nineteen-year-old girl with her head held high as she performed the choreographed movements with high energy and confidence. Blue and pink strands of colored hair peeked out from beneath her brunette scalp as she twirled, jumped and twisted to the music. She wore a big smile across her bronze face and reached out to touch as many kids hands as she could that were all desperately reaching for her attention.
Instantly, my first Disney parade flashed in my mind, and for a brief moment, time stopped and I was once again an eleven-year-old girl sitting on the sidewalk of Main Street, USA in Disney World. The 3 O’clock parade was making its way around the round-about in a kaleidoscope of colors. While I was excited to see Mickey, and all the other Disney characters, actively waving as multi-colored paper shavings floated down from the massive floats, I became mesmerized by all the beautiful girls who danced and sang their way down the street in magnificently constructed costumes. Their flawless skin and beautiful white smiles filled my young mind with awe. I stretched out my hand, shook it ferociously, praying one of them would touch me, and in doing so, like Cinderella, I would instantly become a part of their enchanting experience. I left that day dreaming of being just like them, and hoping someday to work in this happy place.
My dream faded as school, marriage, children and life crept up on me. The fleeting memory left, jarring me back to the present moment. Tears began to swell in my eyes, but not tears of sorrow for my unfulfilled dreams. These were tears of happiness for my daughter, the beautiful young lady with blue and pink in her hair, as she danced by me. Her flawless skin, shining smile and colorful costume encased her as she reached out to create intoxicating memories for all the little children that would, in their later years, hold dear the magical moments of this parade and her simple touch.
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