My aunt was very important in the Miami Garden Club. This was back in the 1960’s when the ladies met and sipped tea from a silver tea service. They wore dresses to luncheons where tiny sandwiches were served on glass lunchonette plates. It was fancy. My lovely aunt walked me around her garden and sparked an interest in flowers. Auntie V was the first from our family to attend the Tournament of Roses Parade in California. Sister and I watched the parade on TV with the rest of the world, but she was there in Pasadena, seeing it in person. She described how the floats looked up close, and it seemed magical.
We just returned from a long weekend in Los Angeles where we were able to check that off the Bucket List of several of our Good to Go Gang travelers. It was my third time to go and… the best one yet! We played a couple of days doing the touristy “you can’t come to LA and not do this” things. Our guides were locals that whisked us around so we didn’t have to worry about timing and transportation. We did a Hollywood tour, and of course, walked that star-lined sidewalk. We did a behind the scene back lot tour at Warner Brothers Studio and having just seen the hit film The Greatest Showman, being on the “street” that was used in the movie was great fun. I think all the “Ellen” fans got a kick out of being on the set used for her very popular show. Our excellent driver/guide was loaded with facts and trivia about the TV and movie industry and touched on something that all of us could remember from all the years that Warner Brothers has been rolling.
We toured the Getty Museum, brought to our attention most recently by the fires that threatened the complex. We also visited the Ronald Regan Presidential Library and Museum. More than just a collection of “stuff,” the Regan Library is a glimpse into the personal life of a man and how history changed during his terms. A personal highlight for us was walking through the actual Air Force One jet that is there on permanent display.
We celebrated New Year’s Eve on a private yacht cruising the Marina Del Ray with dining and dancing. We used another time zone for our toast into 2018 and were back to the hotel, in bed and asleep long before midnight in L.A.. This was on purpose because we needed to be up early for the trip to Pasadena to take our places for the parade. What made the float watching even more special is that the day before, we had spent time where some of the units were being prepared. We were able to view up close some of the pains taking detail that goes into making these giant floral beauties. Remember: every surface area has to be covered with flowers, leaves, or some plant matter. Nothing can be artificially colored. We watched volunteers applying glue to hundreds of chrysanthemum blooms while just as many vibrant orange roses in water vials waited to become part of a background. Tiny purple German Statis petals were torn up and dusted onto larger surfaces. I learned that the color black is usually black beans or poppy seeds. People were all buzzing with energy and focus working on these huge art pieces that were more like a paint-by-number canvas up close.
We enjoyed the sunshine and the adventure of seeing something that has been a part of our lives. Maybe we all need to throw fewer rocks and more roses in 2018. My Auntie V would like that.