BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP!
“Ughhhhhhh, what time is it?” I groaned, reluctantly rolling out of bed, still drunk from New Years Eve. I stumbled over suitcases and clothes, managing to smack my phone hard enough to make it stop. Finally, New Years Day had arrived! With one eye opened, I grabbed the bottle of Motrin and dumped a few in my hand. Screw it, here’s to round two!
Hangovers were no excuse on New Year’s Day. I had waited 365 LONG (some rather drunk) days for the Mummers madness to resume. I slapped on some clothes and stumbled out the door. Game face Jayne!
Most of the team was indisposed. My interpretation of drunken texts and hilarious midnight phone calls…Zero, JB and Clutch had one hell of a New Year Eve and would be taking the day to recover. I was thankful for the newest member of team, Skinny Pete. He was already an avid partier, and this was the perfect event to show him the ropes.
I had the inside scoop and knew JUST where to go. I made my way toward ‘Two Street,’ as the locals call it, and gave Skinny Pete a call. “Yo Pete! Don’t forget the camera! It’s about to go down,” I said, practically beaming through the phone. Poor kid, I’m sure he had no idea the magnitude of what I was about to throw him into.
It was apparent, despite it being only 5 P.M., a lot of people already had WAY too much to drink. Glitter, sequins and wenches filled the streets, making it quite the bedazzled shit-show. Naturally, I made friends with the drunk girl dancing next to me, holding a picture of what appeared to be her only other friend. I wasn’t quite sure the inside joke behind it all, but she was having way too fun not to party with. Besides, I had find something entertaining to pass the time until Pete arrived.
Shenanigans like this were mandatory on New Year’s day. For crying out loud, last year I saw a guys ear get bitten off Mike Tyson style! I felt my phone go off, it was Pete, he’d be here in 5 minutes. I rattled my beer, noticing I needed a refill and went back to our coolers. The secret for me, is that I was celebrating New Years Day at one of my best friend’s families house. This meant clean bathrooms, food, shelter and above all, cold beer provided to our hearts desire. I grabbed a few cold ones and shoved them in my purse. It was time to meet Skinny Pete at The Shamrock Bar on the corner of 2nd and Reed.
Shouts, cheers, and commotion filled the air. The night was well under way, slurring and strutting were in abundance and now my partner in crime was here to photograph some of the madness. Not 5 seconds after we met up, I was shoving a beer into Pete’s already freezing hands. “You’re going to need that dude,” I smirked, encouraging him to partake in the bottle of whiskey he pulled out of his pocket. We cracked our beers, took a swig of the Gentleman Jack and marched straight into the chaos. Immediately, we spotted a group of young Mummers that clearly knew how to party. “Hey! Would you guys mind taking a picture for our website?!” I said, already posing them before receiving the obvious ’yes.’ They were decked out in tribute to the American flag with awesome umbrellas to match. Snapping the picture flawlessly, Pete whipped out a TD2BD sticker and handed it to them smoothly.
I ducked and dodged through the masses, dragging Skinny Pete by his coat while he continued to snap shots of the action. “Whaddya think???” I yelled at him over my shoulder. “I LIVE FOR THIS SHIT!” Pete yelled while snapping a Mummer proudly showing off his stash. No alcohol swigging sparkly Mummer was safe between the two of us. We formed a vicious system to coerce mummers to pose for any photos we wanted. It was a paparazzi tag-team exploring the depths of the parade.
The night was crisp and cold. Seas of people drunkenly huddled together to keep warm while they admired the passing brigades. String bands and DJs managed to keep the night lively. Not even the Mummers could resist pumping out the catchiness of Ke$ha and Gangnam Style. I couldn’t help but think that they surely had style, but Gangnam style? I wasn’t too sure about how the bedazzled wench look compared to the ‘high fashion’ looks of Gangnam. Regardless, our style was unique and on New Year’s Day, couldn’t be matched.
All of this action managed to really work up an appetite. We decided to take a break from our hard work to grab some food from upstairs. Pete flashed me a look of concern when we walked into the kitchen, only to find a few of Philadelphia’s finest officers chowing down on kielbasa sandwiches. I was used to the cops retreating from the madness to enjoy our private sanctuary but could tell Pete was nervous with the bottle of whiskey sticking clearly out of his pocket. “So what ever happened to the open container laws?” Pete turned to me, and then looked at the cops. “Trust me, they have bigger things to worry about tonight. Drink up!” I said reassuringly, the officer nodding in agreeance. We finished our food, bundled back up and head back out into the jeweled spectacle of the night.
New Year’s Day was finally winding down, the last of the fancies stumbled slowly across two street. There was nothing left to do at this point other than smile and enjoy drinking your beer in the middle of the street. A lonely mummer sat head in hand, trying not to lose his lunch. We decided to give him the respect of strutting it out all day and spare him from his picture headlining the TD2BD New Years special. I turned to Pete and gave him a congratulatory ‘you made it’ pat on the back, “Welcome to the team kid, ya did good!” I raised my beer to his Gentleman Jack as we chimed in unison, “To TD2BD!”
The bottom line:
Despite minor mishaps and drunken fools, New Year’s Day is for lovers, not fighters. Everyone is welcomed with love and required to spread the good vibes. It is truly a day to be grateful for a sense of community through alcoholism and 100 year old traditions. Whether you hail from Philadelphia or not, the Mummer’s parade is truly a sight to see at least once in your life. The ‘Two Street’ after party, now, you can count on wanting to make that an annual event!