OK, Iíll admit it, I nearly ďdropped the ballĒ on Saturday and ruined Christmas for the entire crew here at The Evening Sun. How did I manage to put myself in such a predicament, you ask? I didnít actually, but thatís what my trusted co-workers and esteemed editor would have you believe. In actuality, I saved our company float (kind of), primarily due to my inherent tendency to always have a back-up plan (well, almost always).
This isnít to say I didnít come awfully close to complete and utter damnation in the eyes of my fellow float-builders, however, because I did.
When plans for our (almost) annual Parade of Lights float first began to take shape, Iíll admit I was excited. I donít think Iíve been a part of any parade, whatsoever, in at least 15 to 20 years, not since my marching band days. So when the question was tossed about as to who would provide a gas-powered generator for said float, I jumped on it. I mean really, I must know dozens of people who have one kicking around in their garage, right? As it turns out, that wasnít the case Ė not at all.
However, after numerous phone calls to friends, relatives, friends of relatives and relatives of friends (not to mention complete strangers), Iíd tracked down a small, supposedly efficient and relatively new generator. The problem? No one had bothered to find out if the thing even worked in years.
Because of this, I decided (wisely it turns out) to secure a back-up, just to be on the safe side. Now that the parade has come and gone, Iíll be the first to admit Iím thankful I did so.
I arrived at my friendís house at approximately 9 a.m. Saturday morning, only to find heíd neglected to try and start this particular electricity-producing, gas-powered piece of junk. Numerous attempts to fire the blasted thing up produced mixed results, to put it mildly. It would start one minute only to sputter out two minutes later. Further attempts to bring it to life produced results which, in the end, confirmed my worst fears.
Less than two hours later, my search for a generator Ė an absolutely essential part of any successful holiday float Ė found me frantically attempting to locate anything other than my back-up, primarily due to the fact that it was, shall we say, a bit larger than Iíd originally expected. To put it simply, our Delivering Christmas float really didnít require a 6,000 watt generator (enough to power a small foreign nation, I was assured). Regardless, things turned out just fine in the long run and, with a little help from some friends, this behemoth of a dynamo made its way to our offices here at The Evening Sun.
We spent the rest of the day inflating approximately 150 balloons with helium Ė all so our resident balloon-wrangler Tyler Murphy could construct the mother of all balloon arches (his abilities in this area of expertise are impressive, to say the least), utilizing a surprisingly large amount of duct tape to attach, at least, 100 feet of Christmas lights, loading our props onto the flat-bed and adding those finishing touches which, ultimately, led to our tie for second place in the Parade of Lights.
What stood out in particular for myself, however, the friendly verbal jibes I received from the rest of the crew, which lasted throughout the day and into the evening hours.
Now Iíll be the first to admit, my closest friends and I have developed the act of ribbing each other into a true art form. Therefore, Iím quite used to it. Once my co-workers and editor realized this, however, Iíve been subjected to a near-daily dose of rookie hazing for almost a year now.
Not that I mind in the least, because I donít.
I now have a number of newly acquired nicknames that, in all honesty, I wouldnít trade for anything. Titles such as rookie, newbie, noob Ė and my personal favorite Ė new guy, have become, in many ways, a source of pride for me. Itís a constant reminder that, not so long ago, I was searching for a new path in life, a search which eventually led me here.
I guess what Iím trying to say is that, when the day comes that Iím finally released from ďnew guy status,Ē Iíll actually be a trifle sad. Iíve been the new guy for nearly a year and itís a role Iíve happily accepted.
With that said, all of us here at your hometown daily would like to give a special holiday thank you to Josh Wellman and North Norwich Motors, who supplied the flatbed and the transportation; Bill Laden and Chenango Welding Supply, who provided the aforementioned (back-up) generator and Tullio Morbidini and the Benedict Corporation Ė Benedictís for the use of its helium tanks (for the balloons) and Tullio for the use of his office. Iíd also like to throw out a special thank you to my good friend Andrť for picking up and dropping off the generator and my mother for picking up some gas. Without all of you, our Parade of Lights would never have gotten off the ground. So again, you have our thanks.
Personally, Iíd just like to thank Melissa, Tyler and Jeff for the camaraderie and the friendship theyíve shown me since I first walked through the doors of The Evening Sun. Itís been a surprising and educational experience for me (to say the least) and without them, my love for journalism (not to mention my job) would never be quite the same.