At 9:35, I took a deep breath and called Stephanie. And in between the countless details she was managing, she calmly assured me that we were really, really close and that we would make it. "It's going to be okay," she counseled. "I promise."
And sure enough, she was right. When we finally located a parking spot and checked in, it was as if Walt Disney himself drifted down from heaven and took over the stage-management.
We were thrilled to learn that the competition wouldn't actually begin for another 40 minutes, giving us ample time to take a break and make the garnish. At this news, the clouds miraculously parted and the sun was simply brilliant, revealing smiling parade-goers, fans of both LSU and Penn State.
The grandstands were on the edge of Lake Enola State Park, where both black and white swans angled for tidbits from tourists.
Here Gale, that prince of a dad, settles down to work with his favorite culinary tool, a freshly sharpened knife. Being a medieval kind of dad, he is a great fan of edged weapons!
We spent the next few minutes chatting with the other contestants and sizing up their entries. These creative concoctions included Lime Chiffon Pie, Grapefruit Ambrosia, Orange Bread, and Candied Grapefruit Dipped in Chocolate.
They all looked simply divine. Serious competition!
Viewing these desserts put our accomplishment of being named as a finalist in proper perspective. If we had any hope at all of winning, it would depend on our sauce, that mouth-watering reduction of butter, tangerine juice, and honey.
Around 10:30, a parade staffer finally came around and ushered us to the grandstands, where a table had been assembled for presentation in front of about 200 people. We gathered our supplies, the crepes, that precious sauce, the cooler with the ice cream, and the hot plate. It was then that we realized we had no outlet!
"Ask the deejay!" someone said. Surely the broadcasting booth had a spare outlet, right? Wrong. The broadcasting booth was already maxxed out. The deejay’s staff assured us that even just one more tiny little electrical device would cause a blow-out of the entire sound system. At that point, our once-soaring hearts sank again...with a thud.
Our sauce would be useless if it was cold. We might as well throw in the towel, right then and there. We looked at each other, helpless.
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