Your two LTWCMB reps, Lawrence of Disarraybia and the Princess, drove to the glamorous Monterey Bay area over Presidents' Day Weekend to accept the plaudits of the Northern California Parade Association. The awards ceremonies were not actually held on the beautiful Monterey peninsula, neither at Asilomar, nor Pebble Beach but at Spreckels, California. In keeping with this level of sophistication and glamour, your reps stayed at the glamorous Salinas Econo-Lodge, adjacent to a truckstop one block off Hiway 101, and only two blocks from a fine local Burger King eatery. The evening's lodgings came to a cool $38.75, thanks to the helpful AAA discount.
Sunday morning bright and early the Princess discovered she had forgotten her panty hose, so Lawrence of Disarraybia was dispatched across the Salinas desert. Foraging through 7-11s and Mini-Marts, Lawrence finally found the treasured attire.
The grand festivities and awards were to be dispensed at the Spreckels' VFW hall on Fifth Street in down town Spreckels (population 190). The announced "Reception" hour was 10:30 until noon, with the grand "Tri-Tip and all the trimmings" lunch at noon, followed by awards at 1:30. This lunch isn't free---cost Lawrence and the Princess $15 each. Lawrence arrived at 10:30 in mufti (polar-tec jacket and shades) to reconnoiter and discovered the daughter of Jo-Jo the clown and half a dozen higher-ups in the Parade Organization arranging trophies on stage, and Jo-Jo inflating balloons and distributing DARE information. The VFW bar was closed and no Bloody Marys were in sight. Lawrence and the Princess departed, to return in costume at 11:30.
It was explained that to be eligible for trophies, a group has to attend at least three of the 45 judged parades sponsored by this organization. Their political control ranges from Solvang to Yreka. It seems LTWCMB entered four of their parades last year: St. Paddy's, Castroville, Redwood, and Columbus. Points range from one for entering to five for overall parade winner. Our other parades, etc. don't count toward points.
The program listing clearly indicates that if you want to win trophies, you ought to be kids and march, drill, carry flags, etc...do not be a musical band. About 45 trophies went to the former and only 5 to the latter. The muppets from the Salinas Liberty Bells won nine trophies: first peewee marchers, first peewee march leader; first junior marchers, first junior leader, first senior (16 yr olds) marchers, first senior leaders, first flag group, first military drill, and overall grand-gizmo sweepstakes five-foot tall trophy. Similarly, San Jose Cherry Wood Safety Patrol and San Something-or-other Girls Something or other each got four trophies.
The going got tough with the real oldtimers: Seventy-year-old Jo-Jo the clown (with an inside track since he donated some door prizes) beat out the inner-tube-wearing sailor clowns for first trophy. First place in "open bands" went to the 70-something year-old hot mamas second-line dancers and dixieland band "Monterey Hot Jazzers". We were crushed, but with tears in our eyes, dainty or virile (as appropriate) in our day-glo fuchsia outfits, Lawrence of Disarraybia and the Princess went forward to accept a glamorous SECOND place trophy for LTWCMB for "open bands" (is this as in "open and affirming"?). One group asked if ALL LTWCMB dressed as us, another asked if Lawrence was in the Gay Ku Klux Klan, but no matter...
To our amazement, we were called forward AGAIN to accept a crummy piece of paper naming ARF as third (last) place winner as drum major. ARF lost out to the Monterey and Seaside high school band drum majors. The dozen door prizes ALL went to families of the Salinas Liberty Bells and the sponsors. The fix seemed to be in. The best door prize by far, even beating Jo-Jos donated balloon sculpture, was a plastic Chivas Regal bottle half-filled with water with two orange and white goldfish which swam around in the bottle. This looked great until the battery ran down and the clock motor stopped turning the magnet under the bottom of the bottle. The old lady who won it was the organizer of the Salinas Liberty Bells and she wouldn't trade her Chivas fish for our Second Place Trophy.
Lawrence and the Princess proceeded home through a terrible rain-storm in the deserts of Gilroy and Morgan Hill.
(Signed) Lawrence of Disarraybia