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The Grand Parade in Pittsburg

I picked up the ringing phone, and looked at the wall clock. At 6.30 in the morning, who could that be? Oh, Antony. I saw the caller. "Hello, Antony. What brings you here so early in the morning?"

I heard his excited voice, "Hey Ray, you said you wanted to go to this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade?"

"Yes, but do we have enough money to travel to Pittsburgh, and you know, I've been unemployed for a year," I replied, surprised to hear sadness in my own voice.

Antony laughed aloud before saying, "Don't worry. Do you remember the contest I participated in last month in Mumbai? I won it. I received an email, "They have sponsored a trip for two to the US and you're coming with me."

"What, are you serious?"

Yes, get ready. The St. Patrick's Day parade will take place on Saturday, March 12, 2022, in downtown Pittsburgh. Make sure you have your greens ready by the 8th; we are leaving on the 9th.

"Man, I can't believe it."

Hey, Ray buddy, we're gonna celebrate as they say, "Ireland's patron saint in the 'Burgh!"

"Hey Antony, where did you pick this term?" I was a bit surprised!



He was even more excited, "I was dying with excitement." Yes, I checked travel sites that said, "St. Patrick’s Day is best celebrated in Pittsburgh, where 14% of the local population is Irish."

I think I had mentioned this to Antony, so he selected Pittsburgh. I was imagining myself as one of the best places to go for St. Patrick’s Day. I wanted to join this parade even if I was not Irish. Oh yeh, I wanted to join all the fun!

We were in Pittsburg on the 10th evening and booked into the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh, not far from the parade area. We spent the 11th enjoying the local malls and other places. We even raised plenty of beer to celebrate at a beer festival. Wow, that was a huge gathering, and we could feel their happiness.

"Let's go to Philly's bar. There we can buy green beer, for a very reasonable price."



I wanted to stop him, but he wouldn't. I could see everyone dancing, and I laughed aloud when I saw Antony singing in his mother tongue with a pint of beer in his system.

On March 12, 2022, it all began at 10 in the morning. We arrived in Downtown via a free bus reserved for tourists attending the parade, and what we saw exceeded our wildest expectations.

I was astonished at what I saw, "Antony my friend, I have never seen such a wonderful gathering in my life."

Antoni smiled back, "Like I said, we're in for a surprise of our lifetime."

We got there hours before the start of the parade to get a piece of the action. The entire area was lined up with different groups. It all began at 10 am at the Greyhound Bus Station, where we had gotten down about 2 hours earlier. It rained for a while, but no one seemed to notice it.

We saw a band marching along, consisting of school girls. Then a group of dancers and bagpipers, followed by more groups.

I heard a person walking beside me talking to his companion, "It's always great when St. Patrick's Day falls on a weekend." I thought it made no difference to us though, since we are here until Monday and will see how it goes on the 17th. They said, they were planning plenty of festivities on both March 16 and March 17.

We had an official invitation to watch an Irish dance performance at the museum on Sunday. And man, what a grand party that was.

"It's really wonderful," said Anthony.

I was excited. "It's awesome. You know, it's my first outing post-COVID. For me, today's a beautiful day and this is my first time in the US, "

We were now standing out in the sun because it was too chilly out today and we were wearing layers of clothes, but that was too much for us.

I was surprised when I heard someone saying, "it’s like an indicator that spring has finally arrived."

I was like, really?

I turned to him and said, "Our spring is a lot warmer than here."

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Hey, don't worry, I wish it were a little bit better and a bit warmer, but I guess we will survive. "I think what we are experiencing, the excitement and the fun, will keep us warm," said Antony.

I couldn't agree with him any more.

Now we are back to hotel, but I loved the St. Patrick's Day parade, the music, the drinks, the food, and reliving how everyone enjoyed the togetherness in a positive gathering." I am feeling sorry that we shall be leaving Pittsburgh tomorrow at noon.

#theinkwell prompt "St. Patrick's Day" My 5th and last entry for this prompt.

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