Thunder Rolled Once Again As the Astros Paraded through the Streets
What a day for Houston, and I am glad to finally find a cool place in a nice bar with a safe spot to hide my bike! Based on the history of baseball in Houston, today is a once in a lifetime event – but I sure hope we can repeat it.
Of course, I am talking about the World Series parade.
The amazing feat of winning the World Series and having this victory parade in Downtown Houston is unique! However, in retrospect I must add, the adventure of getting to the parade is unlike any I have experienced in the many years I have lived and worked in the Downtown area.
Everyone Loves a Parade, and the Thunder Rolled!
I wake up early in the morning with plans to go to the World Series victory parade for the Houston Astros. It seems like the best way to get there will be by train. But it doesn’t take me long to find out that all the trains are packed like sardines. Instead, I go with Plan B. I give up that primo parking place I paid for near the Continental Club and drive back home to put my bike in the car. Then I head out once again.
As I drive to Allen Parkway, my mind is going to the different places to park. I believe it will be a wise move to pass on trying to park along Allen Parkway. When I get to a point on Memorial, it is clear to see all the parking places are taken. Check this one off the list.
Thunder Rolled and Houston’s Jammin’…Er, I Mean Jammed
Next stop…a parking lot near Chevron. This is eliminated by a traffic jam at the Houston Avenue exit.
Cars are jumping the curbs to park on any vacant spot of grass. When I turn on Houston Avenue, I realize my next target, the municipal court parking lot, is also full. That’s when I decided to head for my son Monte’s house, which gives me the option to take the train from the north side of downtown.
So here I am riding my bike toward the train station, when suddenly I have to jettison that idea, too. It is a mob scene leaving that station to walk to the parade from there. So much so that they had taken over Main Street, brazenly crossing. Men, women and children, lawn chairs and all, walk four-to-five across, refusing to yield to vehicle traffic.
A Storm of Another Nature, and the Thunder Rolled
Thunder rolled. And this was nothing like Hurricane Harvey that had stormed Houston two months earlier flooding the streets with water. This is the thunder and cacophony of a million feet, It is voices raised in joy, not fear. They just keep on coming, cheering as if they are watching the game that won the championship.
I think of all the parades I had seen on the streets of Houston. This one fills me with a strange mix of emotion — relief that the storm has passed. Relief, that we have finally won the World Series. Pride — big, chest-busting pride — that we are Houston strong, rebuilding, and moving on from Harvey. Joy, that the past is behind us, and the future is bright.
My Death-Defying Ride
I also feel sorry for the drivers going both directions who let the first person cross. All the cars behind them are impatiently honking their horns. It is all I can do on foot, leading my bike, to force my way through. But once I get across the road, I am glad those cars are stuck because I can get through a very narrow tunnel. It would have been death-defying to do it with cars moving around me.
When I get to the bridge where the University of Houston Downtown is located, my choice of passage narrows to train tracks or a packed sidewalk. After a quick assessment, I have to gut up and ride the train tracks, fearing I’d either get run over by a train from behind or arrested. It turns out that you can’t get arrested if you try. Our dedicated HPD are working their tails off everywhere I look. As I fight my way diagonally across Downtown, I manage to avoid gridlocked vehicles and sidewalks jammed tighter than the line of 10 people abreast at Flying Saucer Pies on Thanksgiving Eve.
A Hamburger, A Cold One, and A Big Screen
Whatever fears I have about finding a safe place to lock up my bike evaporate instantly at the front door of Le Meridien Hotel. My daughter tends bar here. I will go in and sit with her. The craziness so distracts the greeter, she could care less about me bringing my bike in and hiding it at the end of the lobby. A piece of cake.
So I never make it to the actual parade. By the time I realized it isn’t going to pass by Le Meridien, it is over. Instead, I see another parade — a sea of people going there and coming back. The parade they go to see, I see on TV at the bar while I sit in air-conditioned comfort eating a delicious hamburger and drinking a beer.
Diving Back into the Sea…of Humanity
In the end, both parades are great. After the one on TV is over, the impromptu flow of humanity in the street resumes. Now everyone has to get out of Downtown instead of into it. It turns out that getting back to my son Monte’s house where my car is parked is just a matter of blending in with this happy mass of humanity.
It is too crowded to ride my bike but I am happy just to walk along with it. As I walk, I quietly thank my lucky stars that I am not in one of those cars that are gridlocked. I still wonder what time they finally get home.
Truly a Day to Remember — No Mater Where You Were
And while I walk along, I have lots of great new ideas for some really cool shirts. They will reflect this parade and my unique view of the Houston Astros historic victory parade. Can’t wait to put that design together!