Any day that starts with paella for breakfast and women dancing down the street in feathers can't help but be a good day.
I woke up at 9 this morning, which, if you know me, probably shocks the hell out of you. I got my neighbor up, and we strolled on down toward the capital. Just past Call Street, we grabbed an empty stretch of curb and waited for the motorcycle cops to bip their sirens and start the whole thing. The local bagpipers set the pace - say what you will, and I know it's a funny looking instrument, but a good pipe band can give me goosebumps. There's a reason it was carried into battle to pipe the soldiers into the fray.
Behind them were a handful of the usual Tally suspects - beauty queens in open cars, the Rickards cheerleaders clapping and jumping, parrotheads - mixed in with folks dressed in the styles brought here when they were dragged or chased or lured into the US. Stilt walkers in masks, dancing and clowning to a Caribbean beat. Mexican families in clothing that still remembers the Mayans. A whole trailer of steel drums, music bouncing off the brick buildings like chimes. DJs from around the southeast on flatbeds stacked with speakers blasting Carnival beats followed by flocks of women decked with feathers, from small headdresses to giant, towering beasts and jungles on wheels draped over a dancer's shoulders. I have to admit, my neighbor and I followed our favorites all the way down to the judges' table and back around to the Adams Street commons.
And after the parade, food! Thank the Lord that I live somewhere I can eat a smalll mountain of paella with muscles, shrimp, pork and chicken stewed and spiced as yellow as the rice, peas, scallops, and fresh pico de gallo sauce for breakfast on a morning when you can feel fall headed our way. My neighbor grabbed a plate of jerk pork and we sat in the shade and peple watched and sipped lemonade and stuffed ourselves.
Now the question is, where the hell were you? All that music and food and color (and please do not forget the pretty ladies dancin and laughin) and most of Tallahassee skipped it. Y'all shoulda been there.