Society

Spending Turkey Day in the Big Apple

Macy’s parade, Central Park picnic highlights of ‘family trip’
By MARIE BAKKEN
Reporter staff writer


Milano girls took over New York City the week of Thanksgiving. Here family members (l-r) Marie Bakken, Hayleigh Lagrone, Catrina Steinbecker, Janie Lagrone, Keely Lagrone and Sherry Lagrone pose together after a Thanksgiving picnic at Central Park in Manhattan. Below left, Freedom Tower is under construction near the site of the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Below right, worker are decorating the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Milano girls took over New York City the week of Thanksgiving. Here family members (l-r) Marie Bakken, Hayleigh Lagrone, Catrina Steinbecker, Janie Lagrone, Keely Lagrone and Sherry Lagrone pose together after a Thanksgiving picnic at Central Park in Manhattan. Below left, Freedom Tower is under construction near the site of the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Below right, worker are decorating the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Thanksgiving this year was a little different for me. I didn’t spend it like I normally do, cooking and spending time with our family in Gause and Milano. I spent it in New York City.

Before that week, I had only been near the East Coast one time when I was younger and it was a car trip to Georgia. I was in elementary school and don’t remember much about that trip except the yummy pancakes at the Holiday Inn buffet in Vicksburg, Mississippi. I swear they were bigger than my head.

NYC in the fall is gorgeous. The color of the leaves and the brisk cool air was refreshing. But that wasn’t the reason I went to the Big Apple. It was because two of my nieces were making their national television debut, along with 708 other young ladies from across the USA.

Six students from Milano High School were members of the Spirit of America Varsity Cheer Squad during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Their group was the opening act of NBC’s coverage of the parade the morning of Nov. 22. The six girls, my nieces Hayleigh and Keely Lagrone, along with Brianna Roth, Allyson Steinbecker, Shelbi Davenport and Miranda Oldham) and two sponsors (Sherry Lagrone and Ruth Davenport) were in NYC for a week, as the girls had to get there early for rehearsals.

In all, six other family members joined the girls throughout the week, including myself, my sisters Catrina Steinbecker and Janie Lagrone, Janie’s fiancée Siamack Bazargani and Shelbi’s sisters Ashley Frie and Kari Hellums. That made a total of 14 folks with Milano ties all in NYC at the same time. See, this trip had been in the works for about oh, 11 years.

In 2001, just a lit tle over two months after the terrorists attacks on 9-11, while Ashley, Kari and another girl Tristan were all attending MHS, they represented Milano in the Macy’s parade as part of the same Varsity squad. Sherry and Ruth also went that year, and I babysat a then seven-year-old Hayleigh and four-year-old Keely. We got to watch the girls as they marched in the parade on TV and Hayleigh and Keely were so excited and said one day they would be in that parade. Well, the years have f lown by and that “one day” was upon us as Hayleigh is a senior and Keely a freshman. This year was the only chance they would have to do it together and I wasn’t going to miss it.

It was a short trip for me as I arrived in NYC on Tuesday and f lew out very early on Friday, but I soaked in as much as I could.

From visit ing Rockefeller Plaza and seeing the famous Christmas tree, to shopping on Fifth Avenue, to the crazy things you see on Times Square, NYC has lots to see.

I did go to the site of the 9-11 Memorial and where the World Trade Center twin towers once stood, but could not go in. I was not emotionally ready for that. The thought of all that, even 11 years later still makes me angry and sad. However, I did get a great shot of the new Freedom Tower that will stand near the site.

During the 2001 trip, Sherry went to the Today Show and was on camera several times. The girls and I saw her a bunch and the little ones also got to see Barry Manilow who was live in concert on that show. Keely sang her version of “Copacabana” for weeks after.

During our 2012 trip, we made it to the Today Show, however times have changed and instead of Barry Manilow, hip-hop star Pitbull was live in concert. Big difference, but still fun.

On Thanksgiving morning I got to join three million other people along the streets of Manhattan to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. It was wonderful. After the area had been hit by Superstorm Sandy less than a month earlier, it was great to see how they all bounced back to celebrate Thanksgiving together.

With such a big group of Milano folks and an even a bigger city, it was hard for our whole group to be together at the same time, but on Thanksgiving, we made sure we were. All 14 of us met up near the south entrance of Central Park to have a Thanksgiving picnic. It was something I’ ll never forget.

I hope you enjoy the pictures from my wonderful trip. We made some amazing memories.


Far left, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the huge balloons are one of the many highlights of the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. Middle, the shops on Fifth Avenue made every girls NYC wish list bigger. Above, you can meet all sorts of fun characters in Times Square. Far left, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the huge balloons are one of the many highlights of the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. Middle, the shops on Fifth Avenue made every girls NYC wish list bigger. Above, you can meet all sorts of fun characters in Times Square. You know, in another 11 years, Hannah will be just old enough to participate in the parade. Maybe I’ll spend another Turkey Day in the Big Apple then too.



Reporter staff writer Marie Bakken found the New York Times office off 8th Avenue in Manhattan and reports it is just a little bit bigger than the Rockdale office she’s used to. Reporter staff writer Marie Bakken found the New York Times office off 8th Avenue in Manhattan and reports it is just a little bit bigger than the Rockdale office she’s used to.

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2012-12-06 digital edition



The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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