Sunday, December 7, 2008
It appears Shane has really taken to a new friend. G is the imaginative eight year old son of the W's. He seems to enjoy the same make-believe world Shane does. They spend most of their time running around acting out the sagas created in their heads about cowboys, aliens, wizards and whatever else comes to mind.
Mr. W, G's father, and I hiked with the boys up lookout mountain. Lookout mountain is one of the smaller parks in the Phoenix mountain park system. At 2054 feet it makes for a decent climb but not quite the challenge of Camelback Mountain. Shane brought along his toy six shooter and a fresh reload of caps. He and G went off ahead of us and spent the time swapping the six shooter back and forth. They would shoot imaginary threats out of the air, from behind rocks, and on top of cacti. G released some floating cotton from a bush then proceeded to shoot them all out of the sky. G is about a foot taller than Shane and made it up the rock quicker as he was also very familiar with the terrain. Shane had to stop a few times to take a break and a sip of water but we all made it to the top. The view was a spread of the whole northern valley. We sat on the top for a while watching planes fly overhead and people climbing up from below. We made a quick descent and headed for the W's home where the women had prepared a fine meal of pasta, bread and salad.
After dinner we piled in the car for a short trip in to the city for the Christmas light parade. We let Lisa drive whenever we all go anywhere around Phoenix. She is familiar with the layout of the city and gets around well. We were slowing to a stop in mid traffic and Lisa commented on how far we were from the parade. The vehicle and pedestrian traffic was backed up for several miles. We drifted our way in to a parking spot along the side of a road and dismounted with kids in tow. The W's have an eight month old daughter who was bundled in a stroller. Each available adult grabbed the hand of a corresponding child and we pushed into the crowds, it was about 40 minutes before the scheduled start of the parade.
We arrived at Central Street to find the sidewalks, curbs and lawns were already saturated with people, children, pets, balloons, light sticks, barricades, lawn chairs, hats and horns. We staked a claim on the area between a fence and the sidewalk in front of us there were five rows of awn chairs starting from the edge of the sidewalk into the street. We stood in front of a large bush and the sidewalk was completely blocked in front of us. The only route for foot traffic was behind us between the fence the bush and the sidewalk. People were constantly walking through the bush and pulling the branches back letting them loose to swing out and hit one of us. We tried to move but there was no place to go. It was a mild annoyance and we enjoyed the parade anyway.
The entire two hour parade went by while Shane and G played with their light up necklaces, twisting them to make glasses, whipping them around at each other, attributing them with special powers. Shane would grab my stomach every few minutes and say "this is a poison spell and you're dead" or "this hand makes you freeze in ice". each time I would oblige him and either die from the poison or freeze in position. He would then bring me back to life or unfreeze me. I'm not sure they even saw any of the parade.
E and Traci sat in front of our crowd holding K the eight month old and Sophia our four year old. R noticed E "resting her eyes" at one point during the parade. Eight month olds take their toll.
The only eyes tuned directly into the parade were Sophia's. The parade created the magical experience you can sometimes get from large social observations of holiday events. She was fascinated by all the lights, music, balloons, and people. The colors, sounds and smells drew her in and held her attention for the full two hours. The last to drive by was Santa and Sophia waved with a look of admiring credulous longing. Those last few moments made the previous two hours of being whipped in the back by a thorny bush worthwhile.