It wasn’t the typical Thanksgiving for the Burlesons.
We broke the beach tradition for a trip to Houston, Texas, and it was well worth the 20 hours round trip.
Our youngest daughter Erin was selected as a Universal Cheerleaders Association All-Star this past summer, and one of the honors was an invitation to participate in the Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade. Needless to say, she wasn’t going to pass that opportunity up, and we didn’t want her to. So, immediately after the camp at Mississippi State University, the saving for the trip began.
She followed in the footsteps of many junior high/high school cheerleaders from the Holly Springs area who have participated in the parade in the past.
The parade started at 9 on Thanksgiving morning.
Emma was her younger sister’s chaperone for the trip. Pam and I tagged along.
Emma and Erin had to leave their hotel at 6:30 a.m. Thursday. Emma had a reserved seat in the bleachers at the starting point of the parade in downtown Houston.
Pam and I were not sure where we would position ourselves along the parade route until Emma called us about a good spot, where we could actually sit, near the bleachers. So, we rushed around and made it there by about 7:45 a.m. The seats were wonderful, and we were blessed to sit beside a nice couple from Katy, Texas, and their children. They were regular attendees and full of knowledge about the parade and the Houston area in general.
The weather was fine – cool but not cold. We wore shorts the bulk of the trip but not on Thanksgiving morning.
One group of cheerleaders, which included Erin, led off the parade. And we were in the perfect position to get it all on video. Another group followed about midway of the event.
Their dance, which brought back fond memories to me from the mid-80s, was performed to “Footloose.” She had been working on it at home for a few weeks, plus the cheerleaders practice as a group after their arrival in Houston. Of course, I’m biased, but like her dad, she had all the right moves.
One of the grandest things about the rest of the parade was the grand marshals – Olympians Simone Biles and Simone Manuel.
Pam and I saw them the night before at the Houston Rockets versus Toronto Raptors basketball game.
And then they were the stars of the big parade on Thursday morning.
From talented bands to wonderful floats to Santa Claus, the one-hour parade lived up to its billing as simply fabulous. This was the 67th one. It got its start in 1949.
We worked in some good food on the trip, too. I had an oyster po boy at Steamboat Bill’s in Lake Charles, mahi mahi tacos at House of Blues in downtown Houston, and seafood gumbo and a few oysters at Landry’s in Kemah, southeast of Houston along west Galveston Bay. We wrapped up the trip with a Thanksgiving night meal of hamburgers, fries and onion rings at the Burger Joint, near the University of Houston. There was no turkey and dressing, but that would be sort of unusual for the Burlesons anyway.
The only thing I didn’t like was the Houston traffic.
It was a great week, lots of friendly folks in Houston, but it’s always good to return home to Holly Springs.