Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Do You Want to Go to the Gay Pride Parade Grandpa?

Our four year-old has been jazzed for weeks about the possibility of attending gay pride here in Portland. He has no idea what it is about. He doesn't even know what gay means. He has great memories of having candy, necklaces, Frisbees, and clear plastic squirt guns thrown to him, which is enough to get any four year-old in a lather.

We weren't sure if we would go. My wife's parents were here at the house this last weekend for a family event in the Columbia Gorge--her grandfather's 87th birthday*--and we didn't know if they would be getting back on the train to Seattle in time for us to skip downtown for the festivities.

But while his grandparents were getting their gear together, our youngest looked up at his grandpa and asked that innocent question. It was a Hallmark moment, with a contemporary twist.

They went, on the train back to Seattle, and we went to the parade. Actually, we went in the parade, as we met up with our friends Chris and Jacob right as the Unitarian Universalists marched by, so we jumped in to swell the numbers and add some children to the group. Our teenage son chatted with Jacob, another teen, our preteen daughter pulled her younger brother in a Radio Flyer wagon, and I walked Chris's dog while she passed out postcards for my book because I couldn't bring myself to do it at the last moment.

Our youngest was somewhat nonplussed by this change in plans. He wasn't sure where the candy was going to come in. The UU float ahead of us was tossing candy, but he wasn't getting any, and when his older brother took pity on him and got him a piece, it turned out to be spicy. So we took to the sidelines at the end of the parade so that he would have a chance at tossed booty while the rest passed by.

He got it all: beads, squirt guns, candy, Frisbees--he was in Pride Day bliss.

*My wife's grandfather is an exceptional human being who appears (as do almost all the relatives gathering for his birthday) in my book, The Brides of March.

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