Things aren’t so different this year – Beside the Point

So… how are the leftovers?

I read a lot before Thanksgiving about people celebrating in the their sweatpants and pajamas. That’s a little dangerous making hot gravy, but it’s all about the confidence in the kitchen I guess.

I think it’s more about comfort. Like me walking down the Lighted Parade in shorts Friday night.

I felt like I had my fly down or something. Pssst. It wasn’t that cold out.

This is Iowa, man.

Shorts and hoodies aren’t just for the couch here. My brother once said that sicknesses are on the rise, pre-COVID by the way, because people are wearing long pants too often.

He’s funny.

I think COVID has left us all a bit too constricted. We have to, or should, wear masks out in public. So it seems to me to be a nice trade-off. Extra clothes on the face, less on the legs.

It was nice seeing lots of people downtown. I talked with Chris Swed a bit about mint chocolate popcorn and … wait, what?

People were flocking toward the warm buttery smell of the the Fox Theater. They stood in line at Shug’s Tiny Town getting treats at the old fashioned ice cream counter. People packing into a toy store just before the town’s holiday parade.

RALPHIEEE!

I talked with the Baileys in front of Shug’s. The Iowa teams are pretty good this year and COVID is having a big impact on the NFL. Wendy said I was the one she thought we be crazy enough to wear shorts.

Jeans are overrated.

I talked with others. Said Hi to Gary Pilkington and Eric Freitag. Waived at Dave Taylor and I think I saw Tim Gobble running up and down the street with lights on his head.

In a weird bit of irony Hawk-Eye photographer John Lovretta interrupted one of my pictures by walking through my line. I laughed under my breath and shook my head moving west toward the flashing lights.

The crowd was good and the weather was great. As I walked back to the Cruiser after shooting a card full of pictures I started thinking about how important it is for these types of events to continue.

I missed the holiday music and the bands, but understand this year things are just different. But when we can hang onto events like this, it’s only a little bit different.

I would say half the folks didn’t have masks. I did, but I forgot I did and that says a lot. We’re getting used to the intrusion and with vaccines on the way, their seems to be a light at the end of this very dark tunnel.

Strolling up to Brian Wright and his stogie was welcomed. A brief conversation about the Hawkeyes, his new downtown apartment and doggie doo in the pocket park were a more welcomed distraction than I had anticipated.

Savanna Collier and Tim Gobble and the volunteers that helped keep that event are surely tired, but even more surely appreciated by the thousands that lined the streets on a just a cool Friday night, to ring in the holidays.

Saturday saw carriage rides, the opening of the Enchanted Forest, for real live reindeer and people on the sidewalks. It also saw the Bloodhound boys basketball team on the court getting in their second workout.

Yes, things are different. But because of the resilience of volunteers – because of the commitment of our health care workers – because of the force of human spirit – and because of the spirit of Christmas…

Things aren’t so different.

A special mention this week to the family of former State Sen. Gene Fraise who spent more than three decades dedicating his life to public service. Fraise fell victim to complications of COVID-19. We published another obituary earlier this week that said the man was taken by “the freakin’ coronavirus”.

Yes indeed.

But that’s Beside the Point.

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