The wind blows softly through the rattling trees and a soft crunch is heard under the stumbling footfalls of those merry souls making their way home from the parade route.
Lugging fold out chairs and empty ice chests, their full hearts pump intoxicated blood up to their smiling faces, which gleam with pride over the plastic trinkets swinging to and fro on their aching necks.
Later on, they’ll share pictures and stories with those that weren’t there, or were on another corner. They’ll laugh and gloat that their corner was the best, or complain that the bands were all on break on their block. Maybe they’ll show off the signature throw they went to outrageous lengths to catch or grab from another rabid parade-goer, or whine how stingy the floats were on their side of the street.
For now, though, their cheeks flushed from alcohol and lips chapped from the cool February wind, they’ll happily admit to their friends that this one, this year, was the best one so far, and they can’t wait to do it all again next year, because they know it only ever gets bigger and better.