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Thursday, January 1, 2015


New Year’s Day in Southern California, when I was just a cranky young lad, was a big deal.  I don’t remember watching a ball drop at midnight, I don’t remember a big party or out of control drinking.  Not in my house.  I do remember New Year’s Day.

We lived just outside of Pasadena, and the Rose Parade was a big deal.  We did not watch on TV, we watched and shivered in person early in the morning.  We would park near the parade route in someone’s driveway or lawn for two bucks to a once-a-year entrepreneur.  There were grandstands where you could watch the parade.  They were expensive and required reservations months ahead of time.  Some peopled watched from climbing up a light pole, some climbed on their dad’s shoulders.  We watched from a dump truck.


Another once-a-year entrepreneur parked his dump truck strategically up to the avenue.  The bed of the truck was at semi-dump position providing a makeshift mobile grandstand.  I don’t remember how we sat, but it was rigged for sitting.

The floats were spectacular.  As a six year old I most remember the horses, and I’m pretty sure Roy Rodgers and Hop-a-long Cassidy were among the many riders.

I remember marching bands and flowers…lots of flowers.

Back at home there was football.  Four bowl games.  Four games on an eleven inch black and white TV.  During the regular season there was only one Saturday afternoon “Game of the week” on TV.  From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day there was no football at all.  On New Year’s Day it was a football smorgasbord.   

There was the Cotton Bowl first, which overlapped with the Sugar bowl.  A six year old Cranky was stationed by the TV dial switching between channel two and seven on command so as to not miss a single play.  There was no instant replay, so this was a very important kid brother job.

The Orange Bowl was next and last but clearly the best was the Grand-Daddy of all the bowls, the Rose Bowl.  One year pops took my brothers to the actual “Rose Bowl” game.  I forget who played, but someone parachuted unexpectedly onto the field and delayed the game.  I never heard the end about how I missed that event.

When football was done dinner was take-out Chinese. Nothing else was open.

Viewing the world’s greatest parade in person; watching four football games in one day and ending with spare ribs and chicken almond-ding…Priceless!


  1. I still love watching football on New Years Day. My team is actually in the playoffs this year. Alabama and Ohio State. It will be a tough game. We'll see if we have the horses to go to the next level.

  2. Hey Cranky! Happy New Year!

  3. Happy New Year and thanks for the referral to the POTW. That post was really written from my heart. "Why can't we all just get along?"

  4. what great memories! love the dump truck idea! too fun! i made it to dallas' cottonbowl parade once.

  5. What a great thing to have happen. The dump truck is the epitome of entrepreneur.

  6. Everything sounds great except the football games. Oh wait, lots of girls don't care for football games. I'm glad you had a great time and you sure have some great memories.

    Have a fabulous day and a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year. ☺

    1. I agree--& one year I helped decorate a float!! Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. I guess I'm kinda puzzled how someone with such an agreeable childhood could still refer to himself as a "cranky young lad!" lol - I know, I know - just tryin' to be funny again!
    Happy New Year, Joe! Your posts are always such a burst of fun regardless of whether my day is going great, terrible or "so-so." So glad I discovered you!

  8. Great post, Joe. I'm predicting Oregon and Alabama as winners today and to meet in the title game. I'm rooting for the Ducks.

  9. Great memories! My parents always pretended that New Year's Eve and New Year's Day were just any old day on the calendar. But my brothers and sisters and I knew better...

    Happy New Year!

  10. At home in frozen northern Minnesota, we liked watching the Rose Parade because it looked very tropical. When I got older, I couldn't stand the scripted (and often stupidly delivered) commentary, so I just watched a few bowl games. Now it's just another day, at least from a TV perspective, although the Minnesota Gophers are in some bowl or other at this very moment. Oh yeah, that's another change...all the branded renaming of the bowls. Who can remember?

  11. What great memories for you.. Wouldn't it be fun to have a time machine just to go back and live it all over again? Great post Cranky. Happy New Year to you and Mrs. Cranky. :) - Here's to more great memories. Cheers!

  12. Funny you should mention that. I never watch the Rose Parade, but I did today. Alas, not from a dump truck streetside, but from a blue La-Z-Boy, under a blanket. Then I watched the Mizzou Tigers beat the Minnesota Golden Gophers (sorry, Nancy) in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. They sure don't name bowl games like they used to.

  13. You had unusual but really good seats for the parade.
    I too remember those back to back games that were covered by the networks. Now days if you don't have ESPN you miss most of them nor do teams have to have a winning season to be in one. Lots of 500 teams playing in the bowls. I agree, the names of some of the bowl games are pretty funny.