Light Notes

Remembering my Rose Parade wave (w/ historic photo)

Last week on New Year’s Day it was all about the wave.

Queens, princesses, little children and even grown men waved continuously at the throngs that lined the more than 5-mile California Tournament of Roses Parade route.

And from what I read in a Herald article, HOW you wave at the audience is something to consider before the big day. Even cooking-queen Paula Deen let go of her pots and pans long enough to make sure her wave was picture perfect.

“I have rehearsed my wave,” the vivacious grand marshal said to a reporter shortly before the event.

Then in a flowery description, Paula proceeded to tell how there’s more than one way to wave: figure eight, the queen, screwing in a light bulb and her own unique double-handed wave.

I paused at her words.

There was more than one wave? I could remember only one.

But that was 1963 when I rode the City of Montebello’s float in the annual Rose Parade. Perhaps things had changed since then that I hadn’t noticed. I’d need to scrutinize the wavers a bit more closely.

Tuning into the parade on New Year’s Day, I caught the last third of the procession on our television screen. Patiently, I waited as high-stepping horses trotted by, school bands marched in unison and the TV co-hosts bantered back and forth.

Then, a lovely float moved past the camera adorned in an array of roses, lilies and carnations. The exquisite color and beauty was breathtaking, but my focus turned to the hands and arms gently swaying. What style of wave would I see?

To my surprise, one was totally out of the ordinary. There nestled among the fragrant flowers and other waving participants sat a member on the float holding his iPhone high.

A cell phone as part of a parade wave? Or was he just catching the action to post on YouTube later? I sighed, realizing it’s definitely a new age.

Nevertheless, I tend to agree with Paula Deen that riding in the Rose Parade is all about the wave. And from what I could see, there were many young women — just like me years ago — who tirelessly waved figure eights and smiled graciously at their audience.

For their sake, I can only hope that the majority of the more than 700,000 parade goers looked up from their texting to see them wave.