The parade didn't start until 11, but we claimed our prime viewing spot by 9am. I take that back. Noelle, Jay, and Corbin claimed our spot before 9, and we joined them. My family is pretty hardcore when it comes to St. Paddy's Day. We don't fuck around. We were prepped with a cooler full of beer and pre-mixed Jameson and Lemonade, and a bag full of straws, cups, and mini peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The sandwiches were a first for us this year. Every year you learn what else to put in your parade pack based on the previous year's disasters.
Last year, for example, we learned to keep a barf bag on hand. Joyce was driving us home from the parade last year because she was the only one to sober up during the after party. But apparently chugging too much water can have the same effect as chugging too much beer. About five miles away from our house at a red light, she opened the door and threw up out the side of her car. Now, this would have been fine and dandy had Joey not been shitfaced in the front seat with a bad case of hiccups. One whiff of Joyce's upchuck, and he was puking out the passenger window. Rae and I were in the backseat, scrambling to untie the barf bag from the cooler. Joyce and Joey passed the bag between each other for the remaining few miles, and the second some of the bag's contents splashed onto Joyce's jeans, I about tossed my cookies. And by cookies I mean Jameson and lemonade. Kids... don't drink and drive, OK?
As hilarious as that experience was, none of us wanted a repeat of the puking rally.
"This is insane!" Cayden said as he scanned the crowded parking lots along Greenville Ave. "Is it this big every year?"
I nodded excitedly. He had that wide-eyed look of disbelief I'd hoped to see. I filled his SOLO cup with Jameson and lemonade and clinked my plastic cup against it.
"If leprechauns were as sexy as you, I probably would have liked Lucky Charms cereal more as a kid."
He smiled a big, goofy smile and I yanked his fake beard down until his face was close enough to kiss.
"Kiss me. I'm British," he said, inches away from my face. "That's how it goes right?"
Right or wrong, he didn't have to ask me twice. I planted a big, lemonade-flavored kiss on his British lips and let the giant leprechaun sneak his hand under my tutu to pinch my butt. Apparently my green tutu, tie and top hat weren't enough to save me from a giant leprechaun pinch, but I wasn't complaining.
I wanted Cayden get the whole St. Paddy's Day experience, and he couldn't do that attached to my lips. So no matter how attracted I was to the giant leprechaun, I had to pull myself away and join the crowd. Once again, Cayden fit right into our extended group of friends. It was like he was meant to be there. Like he'd always been a part of it and the group wasn't complete without him.
The parade was in full swing. The girls took turns standing on the railing and leaning over to high-five parade walkers or reach for flying beads. What went over our heads, the guys caught and redistributed. Some floats were over-the-top with live bands and tossed Jell-o shots, while others were half-assed, taping a sign to a shortbus. We high-fived roller derby chicks, caught stale tortillas thrown like frisbees, and fought over the beads with fake mustaches attached to them. It was exactly what the St. Paddy's Day parade should have been.
|I think I see his lucky charm.|
|Don't take candy from strangers. Take candy from crossdressers.|
|Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!|
The best part? (Well, aside from getting my ass pinched by my oversized leprechaun.) No one threw up.