I am not afraid to correct grammar. It's in my nature and is what keeps my eyes darting back-and-forth across the page or computer screen. Most eyes simply glance over the words because we are taught as children that all you need to know is the first and last letter to complete a word. My eyes don't glance, they investigate. I am able to see every letter and know that one doesn't belong there or that one is missing. Forgot a comma? Oh, I know it. Mixed up there/their/they're or your/you're? Trust me, I'll tell you. It makes a smile appear from one side of my face to the next and gets my heart racing to know that I've helped maintain proper English grammar.
During the holiday season, one area of Arizona outshines all others. The small, historic town of Glendale is lit up by more than one million Christmas lights that are strung throughout the trees and shine brightly on the small, antique homes and shops that compose the 12-blocks from Old Towne and Catlin Court Districts.
Photo Credit: Sweet Evie
However, one of the more popular events of the Glendale Glitter festivities takes place on Jan. 8, when the city hosts their traditional Glendale Glitters and Glow Block Party to finish their annual celebrations. From 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. friends and families will make up an attendance of more than 75,000 people who stroll the sidewalks of the district for one last chance to witness the twinkling, colorful lights.
Adults have the chance to enjoy looking through each of the antique shops, which are decorated for the holidays, for fine crafts and historic relics. The kids will be entertained by large, tethered hot air balloons as they are blown up to reveal fantastic designs and patterns from the glow of their flame. Together, families can feel the festive spirit from the multiple live bands and performers throughout the evening. Other kid-friendly and family-fun activities will be available, as well as an assortment of food vendors.
Photo Credit: Sweet Evie
Parking for the event is limited but if you can find a spot in the neighborhood, it is free. Otherwise, you can use the Glendale Community College parking lot where a free shuttle, which runs all night from 3:30 until 11:30 p.m., will take you to-and-from the night’s event. This event, like all of Glendale Glitters festivities, has no admission charge.
Whenever out-of-state relatives visited, my family would always take them on a weekend trip to give them a chance to see a different part of Arizona other than the valley. It would be an adventurous activity up north, in an attempt to prove to them that Arizona isn’t all saguaros and dirt like most perceive it to be. One year, we took a friend on the must-see Pink Jeep Tour where we went deep into red-rock country for some bumpy four-wheeling fun. Another time we took our grandparents on the Verde Canyon Railroad, which is known as the longest-running nature show in the state. The train weaves through a valley at 12 mph, allowing passengers to see the flora and fauna in between Clarkdale and Perkinsville. All the trips are filled with gorgeous sights and long-lasting memories.
However, the number one most memorable moment was during a trip to the Grand Canyon with our aunt, uncle and cousins who were visiting from Indiana.We made the drive in two cars via the Flagstaff route. Once we reached the park, we settled into our two cabins before going to see one of the world’s wonders. The best part of taking friends or family that have never been to the Grand Canyon is watching their face when they finally see it. Their eyes grow twice their normal size as if trying to take in the entire vastness of the canyon, and their mouths drop open saying “wow” in a non-verbal way. After the initial shock-and-awe wore off, we took them down the Bright Angel trail a bit. We walked down the trail that was no wider than arm’s length, hugging the side of the canyon wall and moving out of the way of the donkeys. When we felt we had gone far enough, we turned around to make the tiring hike back up.
We went to bed early because we were all tired, but also because we planned to catch the sunrise the next morning. You cannot visit the Grand Canyon and not watch the sunset or sunrise. It let’s you see the shadows slip away and the shades of red painting the walls and valleys. We drove to the lookout where a bundled-up crowd had slowly started growing. Right before the sun began to crest, we saw a light in the distance grow brighter and brighter. You could hear surprised gasps escape the mouths of everyone around you once they realized what the light was that they were seeing. It was a meteorite falling into the earth’s atmosphere right over the Grand Canyon. The flaming fireball zoomed right at us and many ran to hide while other tourists began snapping pictures. I clung to my father, as I watched my life flash before my eyes – literally. However, we were lucky that day. The meteorite disintegrated as it flew through the atmosphere and disappeared right over the forest behind us.
A quiet had enveloped the crowd. Everyone was looking at each other with large eyes and open mouths wondering if they had really witnessed what they just had. The sun rose over the horizon in a silence, as all the minds were still replaying that morning’s site that was now burned into memory.