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Friday, December 30, 2011

An America Thing

I took this photo last year in one of the Tournament of Roses float decorating tents in the Arroyo Seco. I never posted it because of its glaring imperfection--the large white barrier front and center. But while looking through last year's photos I came across it and found these girls so compelling I decided to go ahead and show it to you.

The girl's hand touches a fire hydrant that looks like it's seen better days, and that it has. The hydrant, called "the Heroes' Hydrant," was displayed near where the LA County Firemens Benefit and Welfare float was being decorated. The nearby sign said, "This is an actual hydrant removed from the World Trade Center rubble (near building 7) donated to the County of Los Angeles Fire Museum Association by our friends from FDNY" (Fire Department of New York).

The moment moved me and put me in mind of many things then, as it does now: how thoughtful these girls seemed to be, despite how young; how much I have to be grateful for; and how the Tournament of Roses Parade is not just a Pasadena thing but an America thing.

You can visit the Heroes' Hydrant and other artifacts of firefighter bravery at the Los Angeles County Fire Museum.

25 comments:

Shell Sherree said...

So poignant. I'm glad you chose to post this one, Petrea. I do my best to express gratitude every day, but some of them slip by. Things such as this remind me.... (PS: I hope Boz is coping ok with his bonnet.)

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Most definitely, Petrea.... The hoodie and the hand resting on the hydrant looks so (pardon my crudeness?) Jesus-like... Reminds me of the photos our Sunday school teacher showed us of Jesus laying his hand on someone.... The little girl looks as if she knows the importance and wants to absorb whatever that piece means to her... Even tho' it may not be picture perfect to a photographer, to me it most definitely is... all that energy around her and somehow she has found the importance.
Thanks for sharing!.

Bellis said...

I thought the hydrant was there for the Dalmatian.

( excuse the irreverence).

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I don't see it as a glaringly bad photo. I like the snippet of the man in white and the glow off the barber striped barricade.

alex said...

that's touching.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thanks, Shell. Boz is doing better. We ordered a transparent bonnet which arrived, but we have to return it. I'm afraid he's stuck in his lampshade for another week but he's coping.

Kalei, it's true--touching an icon makes us feel closer to its meaning.

Bellis, irreverence is allowed! We get to say whatever we want to! I love that!

PA, you will know this, but for those who don't: the man in white is one of the White Suiters, a Tournament of Roses volunteer. They're a dedicated and special group. PA's father was one, as I recall.

Alex, you punster.

Laurie said...

I love this photo, P. glad you shared it with us.

Bellis said...

Is Boz trying to scratch his eye? When do the stitches come out?

Petrea Burchard said...

Thanks, Laurie.

One more week, Bellis. No, he's given up and is mostly moping.

TheChieftess said...

My first thought when I saw this was that the girl in the hoodie looked reverent...Mother Mary-like...
I'm glad that the fire hydrant evokes that kind of reverance...and especially from a girl so young...
a very thought provoking shot...

Petrea Burchard said...

Now that I think of it, she was too young to remember. That makes her even more interesting to me. I wonder what she's learned in school about 911.

sonia a. mascaro said...

Very touching photo, Petrea!

All my best wishes for a Happy New Year to you and your family!

Susan Campisi said...

Oh wow. There's so much meaning in this photo, so much sorrow represented in a fire hydrant. Amazing. Very thoughtful post, Petrea.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you, Sonia.

Susan, is it universal to want an icon to touch, to remind us of something? A fire hydrant is just a fire hydrant but is not just a fire hydrant when we imbue it with so much meaning.

Virginia said...

As special moment you've captured.

Now, I'm out of it I know but why is the parade not on New Year's Day this year? I"m feeling all out of sorts at the thought of waking up to no parade?
V

Petrea Burchard said...

Virginia, it's a good question. The answer is that the Tournament of Roses has a long-standing "never on Sunday" tradition. Wikipedia gives this explanation:

"Members of Pasadena's Valley Hunt Club first staged the parade in 1890. Since then the parade has been held in Pasadena every New Year's Day, except when January 1 falls on a Sunday. In that case, it is held on the subsequent Monday, January 2. This exception was instituted in 1893. Local tradition has it that "the Tournament has a deal with God; we'll never hold the parade on a Sunday, and He'll never let it rain on the Rose Parade." However, according to the Tournament of Roses Association Web site, this "Never on Sunday" policy was instituted in order "to avoid frightening horses tethered outside local churches and thus interfering with worship services." Thus, the parade has never been held on a Sunday. Incidentally, the Rose Bowl Game is also not held on Sunday to avoid competing with the NFL. Other bowl games usually held on January 1 also follow this rule."

By the way, God hasn't always kept up his end of the deal.

Ms M said...

It's a moving photo. Glad you posted it. A space to reflect upon the coming year, and hoping it will bring healing and better times.

Glad you explained about the parade. I didn't know it wouldn't be held on Sunday either!

pasadenapio said...

The grace in this young person's face and body language is so touching.

Petrea Burchard said...

Ms. M, I hope you can stay home Monday and watch it!

I think so too, Ann. I like all three of the faces in the photo for different reasons.

altadenahiker said...

I'm excusing Bellis for her irreverence. She made me laugh.

CafePasadena said...

I'm also executing BellIs for her irreverence. She made me shake my head.

Dina said...

You did well to share this. Thank you.

Petrea Burchard said...

Yep. I figure we're allowed to be irreverent, and at the risk of sounding maudlin (I know I'm going to anyway), extremists (of all kinds) hate the fact that we're allowed to be irreverent and say what we want to say. So spout off, please. Ceci n'est pas un cadavre.

TheChieftess said...

I've always heard that the "Never on Sunday" rule was because of the horses too Petrea!!!

Petrea Burchard said...

Something to do with church bells spooking the horses in the parade? Horses making noise during the service? Bagpipes competing with the choir?